Hypothalamic neuropeptide Y (NPY) neurons function as physiological integrators in at least two different neuroendocrine systems - one governing feeding and the other controlling reproduction. Estrogen might modulate both systems by regulating NPY gene expression; it might reduce food intake by suppressing NPY expression, and evoke reproductive hormone surges by stimulating it. How can estrogen exert opposing effects in an ostensibly homogeneous NPY neuronal population? Recent work with immortalized NPY-producing cells suggests that the ratio of estrogen receptor α:estrogen receptor β can determine the direction and temporal pattern of transcriptional responses to estrogen. Because this ratio might itself be physiologically regulated, these findings provide one explanation for multiple neuropeptidergic responses to a single steroid hormone.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism