Aqueous extract of Ma huang suppresses neuropeptide y expression in food-deprived rat hypothalamus

Ee Hwa Kim, Mal Soon Shin, Hyun Kyung Chang, Taeck Hyun Lee, Mi Hyeon Jang, Min Chul Shin, Sam Jun Lee, Chang Ju Kim

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Ma huang, the dried plant stem of Ephedra Intermedia Schrenk et C.A., contains an ephedrine-type alkaloid and has been used for weight loss. Neuropeptide Y (NPY), a 36-amino acid peptide, is concentrated in the hypothalamus and stimulates feeding desire. In this study, the effect of Ma huang on the expressions of NPY in the hypothalamus of rats was investigated using immunohistochemistry. Food-deprivation enhanced the NPY expression in the hypothalamus. Ma huang suppressed the food-deprivation-induced enhancement of NPY expression. Present results suggest that Ma huang curbs the food desire by suppressing the NPY expression under food-deprivation conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)659-667
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Chinese Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2004



  • Hypothalamus
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Ma huang
  • Neuropeptide Y

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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