To elucidate the role of neuropeptide Y (NPY)-Y1 receptor (Y1-R) in food intake, energy expenditure, and other possible functions, we have generated Y1-R-deficient mice (Y1-R−/−) by gene targeting. Contrary to our hypothesis that the lack of NPY signaling via Y1-R would result in impaired feeding and weight loss, Y1-R−/− mice showed a moderate obesity and mild hyperinsulinemia without hyperphagia. Although there was some variation between males and females, typical characteristics of Y1-R−/− mice include: greater body weight (females more than males), an increase in the weight of white adipose tissue (WAT) (approximately 4-fold in females), an elevated basal level of plasma insulin (approximately 2-fold), impaired insulin secretion in response to glucose administration, and a significant changes in mitochondrial uncoupling protein (UCP) gene expression (up-regulation of UCP1 in brown adipose tissue and down-regulation of UCP2 in WAT). These results suggest either that the Y1-R in the hypothalamus is not a key molecule in the leptin/NPY pathway, which controls feeding behavior, or that its deficiency is compensated by other receptors, such as NPY-Y5 receptor. We believe that the mild obesity found in Y1-R−/− mice (especially females) was caused by the impaired control of insulin secretion and/or low energy expenditure, including the lowered expression of UCP2 in WAT. This model will be useful for studying the mechanism of mild obesity and abnormal insulin metabolism in noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
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