We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Neuropeptide Y?

By Toni Henthorn
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In physiology, neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a peptide chemical messenger secreted by the hypothalamus, that portion of the brain that controls hunger, thirst, fatigue, and body temperature. NPY plays a role in various basic processes in the brain, including energy regulation, memory formation, and seizure activity. The main effect of NPY is to promote increased food intake and decreased physical activity in response to a plummeting blood sugar level. In addition to increasing food intake, it increases the percentage of calories stored as fat and blocks pain receptor signals to the brain. NPY also increases constriction of blood vessels.

Injection of antibodies that counteract neuropeptide Y blocks the urge to eat in rodents. Leptin, a naturally occurring appetite suppressant, inhibits NPY formation and release. Disruption of the gene's coding for neuropeptide Y in genetically obese mice leads to weight loss or normal weight maintenance. When the NPY-deficient mice reproduce with regular obese mice, the progeny also experience less obesity. These studies implicate NPY in the drive to eat and in overeating leading to obesity.

Investigators have discovered that the hypothalamus secretes neuropeptide Y during emotional stress. In addition to stimulating a stressed individual to eat, the peptide also dampens the "fight or flight" response, defusing emotional stress. Variations in the genetic code for neuropeptide Y expression produce variations in resilience to emotional trauma and stress. Many drug companies are trying to produce drugs that bind to NPY receptors to achieve an anxiety-reducing effect.

Although the neuropeptide has a calming effect, it also interferes with immune defenses by binding to a receptor called “Y1.” Y1 receptor signaling inhibits responses by the body’s first-line immune cells. Secondly, Y1 receptor signaling suppresses activation of the second wave of adaptive immune lymphocytes. This finding emphasizes the association of suppression of the immune response and higher susceptibility to infection with NPY. Possibly, the link between times of increased stress and increased susceptibility to infection is due to increased NPY during these times.

Other studies have identified a genetic linkage between increased NPY and coronary artery disease (CAD). On the other hand, the application of NPY antibodies to atherosclerotic arteries reduces the affected atherosclerotic areas by 50 percent. Two variants of NPY are associated with atherosclerosis. The artery-constricting and plaque-inducing effects of neuropeptide Y may partially explain the common link between obesity and coronary artery disease.

Neuropeptide Y also plays a critical part in pain perception at various locations within the central nervous system. NPY and NPY receptors scatter abundantly throughout the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARC), the brain area responsible for pain processing. Increases in NPY and Y1 receptor binding lead to decreased pain awareness and increased pain tolerance. Substance P is another neuropeptide that carries pain signals to the central nervous system. Neuropeptide Y blocks the production of Substance P and thus its noxious effects.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.