Peptide YY (PYY) is the most potent orexigenic peptide or substance known. However, neither the underlying physiology of this hyperphagia nor PYY's natural role in brain are well understood. Thus, this review details the neuroanatomical sites, the neurochemical and systemic interactions, the food-related properties and the motivational factors that characterize hyperphagia elicited by central PYY. Emphasis also is given to evidence that central PYY has properties functionally distinct from neuropeptide Y. Finally, future research directions are outlined that aim at accelerating our understanding of the roles that brain PYY and PYY-preferring receptors occupy in normal and abnormal feeding behavior. © 2002 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.