Review

Orexin and melanin-concentrating hormone neurons: a hypothalamic interface for sleep and feeding regulation

Liam Anuj O'Leary

University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK

Received:

7 Apr 2014

Accepted:

7 Sept 2014

Published:

14 Oct 2014

Volume:

7

Issue:

1

Keywords:

orexin, melanin-concentrating hormone, lateral hypothalamic area, arcuate nucleus, sleep, feeding

Abstract:

Orexin and melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) neurons reside in the lateral hypothalamic area (LHA) and regulate sleep and feeding behaviour in mammals. In rodents, orexin neurons are implicated in the regulation of wakefulness or palatable consumption, whereas MCH neurons are implicated in the regulation of rapid eye movement sleep episode duration or caloric consumption. This review explores the molecular, genetic and neuronal components of orexin and MCH signalling as mediators of arousal state transitions. These peptidergic signalling systems, which interconnect both with sleep centres in the LHA and feeding centres in the arcuate nucleus, may maintain the balance between sleep need and duration with hunger and food foraging.

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