Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Timothy Bartness - Chair

Second Advisor

Anne Murphy

Third Advisor

Andrew Clancy

Fourth Advisor

Elliott Albers

Fifth Advisor

Larry Young


During the past few decades, obesity has risen significantly in the United States with recent estimates showing that 65% of Americans are overweight and 30% are obese. This increase is a major cause for concern because obesity is linked to many secondary health consequences that include type II diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Current approaches to the obesity problem primarily have focused on controls of food intake and have been largely unsuccessful. Food, however, almost always has to be acquired (foraging) and frequently is stored for later consumption (hoarding). Therefore, a more comprehensive approach that includes studying the underlying mechanisms in human foraging and food hoarding behaviors could provide an additional target for pharmaceutical or behavioral manipulations in the treatment and possibly prevention of obesity. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) is a particular peptide that provides a potent orexigenic drive to alter foraging, food hoarding (appetitive ingestive behaviors) and food intake (consummatory ingestive behaviors) in variety of species. NPY is predominantly produced in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus (ARC) and has extensive efferent projections throughout the brain. Two target nuclei of ARC-NPY, the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVH) and perifornical area (PFA), have been shown to mediate the effect of NPY on food intake in laboratory rats and mice, but nothing is known about the effect of ARC-NPY on foraging and food hoarding. In addition, the action of specific NPY receptor subtypes within these two nuclei for these behaviors is unknown. Even though ARC-NPY is one of the main sources of input into the PVH and PFA, it is not known if this NPY fiber projection mediates alterations in appetitive and consummatory ingestive behaviors. Therefore, the purpose of this dissertation is to test 1) if NPY within the PVH or PFA controls appetitive, as well as, consummatory ingestive behaviors, 2) if NPY Y1 receptors within the PVH or PFA differentially control appetitive or consummatory ingestive behaviors, and 3) if NPY from the ARC is necessary for the control of appetitive and consummatory ingestive behaviors.

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Biology Commons