Nicotine's attenuation of body weight involves the perifornical hypothalamus. Academic Article uri icon


  • Previously we showed that intermittent administration of nicotine (NIC) in the dark phase decreased food intake and body weight and this could be blocked when the NIC receptor antagonist mecamylamine was infused into the fourth ventricle. Catecholaminergic neurons adjacent to the fourth ventricle contain NIC receptors and directly innervate the perifornical hypothalamus (PFH) which has been shown to be involved in regulation of feeding. This study explored whether NIC regulates feeding behavior by modulating catecholaminergic input to the PFH. Epinephrine and norepinephrine neuronal input was ablated within the PFH by infusion of 6-hydroxydopamine hydrobromide (6-OHDA), while bupropion was infused to protect dopaminergic neurons. After recovery of body weights to pre-surgery levels, food intake, meal size, meal number and body weight were measured after intermittent NIC injections. The results showed the PFH lesioned animals did not exhibit the typical prolonged drop in food intake, meal size and body weight normally associated with NIC administration. High performance liquid chromatography analyses demonstrated that compared to control rats, 6-OHDA administration significantly reduced PFH norepinephrine and epinephrine levels, but not dopamine levels. These results are consistent with NIC reducing food intake in part by acting through catecholaminergic neurons within or extending through the PFH.

published proceedings

  • Life Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Kramer, P. R., Guan, G., Wellman, P. J., & Bellinger, L. L.

citation count

  • 11

complete list of authors

  • Kramer, Phillip R||Guan, Guoqiang||Wellman, Paul J||Bellinger, Larry L

publication date

  • January 2007