Brain neuromedin U (NMU) has been associated with the regulation of both energy intake and expenditure. We hypothesized that NMU induces changes in spontaneous physical activity and nonexercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) through its actions on hypothalamic nuclei. We applied increasing doses of NMU directly to the paraventricular (PVN) and arcuate hypothalamic nuclei using chronic unilateral guide cannulae. In both nuclei, NMU significantly and dose-dependently increased physical activity and NEAT. Moreover, NMU increased physical activity and NEAT during the first hour of the dark phase, indicating that the reduction of sleep is unlikely to account for the increased physical activity seen with NMU treatment. As a positive control, we demonstrated that paraventricular NMU also significantly decreased food intake, as well as body weight. These data demonstrate that NMU is positively associated with NEAT through its actions in the PVN and arcuate nucleus. In co-ordination with its suppressive effects on feeding, the NEAT-activating effects of NMU make it a potential candidate in the combat of obesity.
Novak CM, Zhang M, Levine JA