Alarin Stimulates Food Intake in Male Rats and LH Secretion in Castrated Male Rats
Alarin is a newly identified member of the galanin family of neuropeptides that includes galanin-like peptide (GALP) and galanin. Alarin was discovered as an alternate transcript of the GALP gene in neuroblastoma cells, and subsequently alarin mRNA was detected in the brain of rodents. GALP and galanin are important central regulators of both feeding and reproductive behavior. We hypothesized, that, as a member of the galanin family of peptides, alarin would also have central effects on feeding and reproduction. To test this hypothesis, we treated male rats with alarin intracerebroventricularly (icy.) and measured its effects on food intake and energy homeostasis as well as sexual behavior and luteinizing hormone (LH) secretion. We observed that i.c.v, injection of 1.0 nmol alarin significantly increased food intake (p < 0.01) and body weight (p < 0.05). Alarin did not affect sexual behavior in male rats; however, alarin did significantly (p < 0.01) increase LH levels in castrated, but not intact, male rats. Alarin immunoreactive cell bodies were detected within the locus coeruleus and locus subcoeruleus of the midbrain, which is a brainstem nucleus involved in coordinating many physiological activities, including food intake and reproduction. Lastly, alarin stimulated Fos induction in hypothalamic nuclei, such as the paraventricular nucleus and the nucleus of the tractus solitarious. Our studies demonstrate that alarin, like other members of the galanin family, is a neuromediator of food intake and body weight.