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Neuroscience Homepage  > Faculty List > Levine
Allen S. Levine, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Food Science and Nutrition

Energy intake and energy expenditure.

Our laboratory investigates the role neuropeptides play in regulating energy intake and expenditure. Humans and animals eat for many reasons, including hunger, taste, stress, boredom, time of day, and social circumstances. It is known that opioid peptides and neuropeptide Y (NPY) increase food intake in satiated rats. However, it appears that opioids are involved in the "rewarding" aspects of food while NPY affects eating due to an energy deficit (hunger). We use methods that range from behavioral to molecular to evaluate the role of these peptides in energy metabolism. Our major goal is to study the neural pathways involved in various types of feeding behavior and energy expenditure. 

Some of the techniques we employ are specific site injection of peptides, use of operant chambers, various radioimmunoassays, GDP binding in brown adipose tissue, measurement of messenger RNA levels for uncoupling protein, opioid peptides and NPY (by slot blot and in situ hybridization), and brain mapping of feeding pathways.

Selected Publications
Quinn JG, O'Hare E, Levine AS, Kim EM
Evidence for a mu-opioid-opioid connection between the paraventricular nucleus and ventral tegmental area in the rat.
Brain Res. 2003 Nov 21;991(1-2):206-11
Levine AS, Kotz CM, Gosnell BA
Sugars: hedonic aspects, neuroregulation, and energy balance.
Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Oct;78(4):834S-842S
Olszewski PK, Grace MK, Billington CJ, Levine AS
Hypothalamic paraventricular injections of ghrelin: effect on feeding and c-Fos immunoreactivity.
Peptides. 2003 Jun;24(6):919-23
MacDonald AF, Billington CJ, Levine AS
Effects of the opioid antagonist naltrexone on feeding induced by DAMGO in the ventral tegmental area and in the nucleus accumbens shell region in the rat.
Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2003 Nov;285(5):R999-R1004
Olszewski PK, Li D, Grace MK, Billington CJ, Kotz CM, Levine AS
Neural basis of orexigenic effects of ghrelin acting within lateral hypothalamus.
Peptides. 2003 Apr;24(4):597-602
Olszewski PK, Wickwire K, Wirth MM, Levine AS, Giraudo SQ
Agouti-related protein: appetite or reward?
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2003 Jun;994:187-91
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