• KSBNS 2024


Original Article

Exp Neurobiol 2021; 30(6): 375-386

Published online December 31, 2021

© The Korean Society for Brain and Neural Sciences

Chronic Restraint Stress Decreases the Excitability of Hypothalamic POMC Neuron and Increases Food Intake

Go Eun Ha and Eunji Cheong*

Department of Biotechnology, College of Life Science and Biotechnology, Yonsei University, Seoul 03722, Korea

Correspondence to: *To whom correspondence should be addressed.
TEL: 82-2-2123-5885, FAX: 82-2-362-7265

Received: November 2, 2021; Revised: December 8, 2021; Accepted: December 11, 2021

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Stress activates the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal system, and induces the release of glucocorticoids, stress hormones, into circulation. Many studies have shown that stress affects feeding behavior, however, the underlying circuitry and molecular mechanisms are not fully understood. The balance between orexigenic (simulating appetite) and anorexigenic (loss of appetite) signals reciprocally modulate feeding behavior. It is suggested that proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and neuropeptide Y (NPY) neurons in the arcuate nucleus (ARC) of the hypothalamus are the first-order neurons that respond to the circulating signals of hunger and satiety. Here, we examined a chronic restraint stress model and observed an increase in food intake, which was not correlated with anhedonia. We investigated whether stress affects the properties of POMC and NPY neurons and found that chronic restraint stress reduced the excitatory inputs onto POMC neurons and increased the action potential threshold. Therefore, our study suggests that chronic stress modulates the intrinsic excitability and excitatory inputs in POMC neurons, leading to changes in feeding behavior.

Graphical Abstract

Keywords: Stress response, Hypothalamus, Arcuate nucleus, Food intake, POMC