Fasting increases hypothalamic neuropeptide Y (NPY) and agoutirelated peptide (AGRP) messenger RNA (mRNA) and reduces hypothalamic POMC mRNA, and is also characterized by a reduction in plasma leptin, insulin, and glucose, each of which has been implicated in the regulation of hypothalamic gene expression. To further evaluate the roles of leptin, insulin, and glucose in mediating effects of fasting, we examined hypothalamic gene expression in nondiabetic and streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice both under ad lib fed and 48-h fasted conditions. In both diabetic and nondiabetic mice, fasting stimulated hypothalamic NPY and AGRP mRNA and inhibited hypothalamic POMC mRNA and adipose leptin mRNA. However, in diabetic mice fasting had no effect on plasma leptin and insulin while decreasing plasma glucose, whereas in nondiabetic mice fasting decreased plasma leptin, insulin, and glucose. Furthermore, in non-diabetic fasted mice, NPY and AGRP mRNA were higher, and POMC mRNA and plasma glucose were lower, than in diabetic ad lib fed mice, even though insulin and leptin were similar in these two groups. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that although leptin and insulin regulate hypothalamic gene expression, glucose or other factors may have independent effects on hypothalamic and adipose gene expression under conditions of low insulin and leptin.