Orexins: Effects on behavior and localisation of orexin receptor 2 messenger ribonucleic acid in the rat brainstem

David Sunter, Irene Morgan, C. Mark B. Edwards, Catherine L. Dakin, Kevin G. Murphy, James Gardiner, Shahrad Taheri, Esraa Rayes, Stephen R. Bloom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Citations (Scopus)


The orexins are neuropeptides originally reported to be involved in the stimulation of food intake. However, analysis of orexin immunoreactive fibres have revealed the densest innervation in brain sites involved in arousal and sleep-wake control, notably the noradrenergic locus coeruleus, an area that also expresses orexin receptor 1 (OX1R) messenger RNA (mRNA). We report here that, in the rat, a single intracerebroventricular injection of orexin A (1 and 3 nmol) or orexin B (3 nmol), during the early light phase, did not increase food intake over the first 4 h postinjection. However, the frequency of active behaviors such as grooming, rearing, burrowing and locomotion increased. Feeding behavior and food intake subsequently decreased over the following 20 h (4-24 h postinjection period) in the orexin A 3 nmol injected group whilst the frequency of inactive behavior (still or asleep) in this group increased. Using riboprobes, we performed in situ hybridization histochemistry to map the distribution of orexin receptor 2 (OX2R) mRNA within the rat brainstem. We report here, for the first time, the presence of OX2R mRNA in the nucleus of the solitary tract and the lateral reticular field (LRt). The LRt is a brainstem site that, amongst other functions, is implicated in attention and wakefulness. This distribution of OX2R and the effects on behavior support recent reports that the orexins might modulate central nervous system arousal and sleep-wake mechanisms rather than exclusively being involved in the control of food intake.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-34
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2001
Externally publishedYes



  • Behavior
  • Brainstem
  • In situ hybridization
  • Orexin
  • Receptor
  • Sleep-wake

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Clinical Neurology

Cite this

Sunter, D., Morgan, I., Edwards, C. M. B., Dakin, C. L., Murphy, K. G., Gardiner, J., Taheri, S., Rayes, E., & Bloom, S. R. (2001). Orexins: Effects on behavior and localisation of orexin receptor 2 messenger ribonucleic acid in the rat brainstem. Brain Research, 907(1-2), 27-34. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0006-8993(01)02344-7