OBJECTIVE: Neuropeptide Y and its Y receptors are important players in the regulation of energy homeostasis. However, while their functions in feeding regulation are well recognized, functions in other critical aspects of energy homeostasis are largely unknown. To investigate the function of Y1 receptors in the regulation of energy homeostasis, we examined energy expenditure, physical activity, body composition, oxidative fuel selection and mitochondrial oxidative capacity in germline Y1(-/-) mice as well as in a conditional Y1-receptor-knockdown model in which Y1 receptors were knocked down in peripheral tissues of adult mice. RESULTS: Germline Y1(-/-) mice of both genders not only exhibit a decreased respiratory exchange ratio, indicative of increased lipid oxidation, but interestingly also develop late-onset obesity. However, the increased lipid oxidation is a primary effect of Y1 deletion rather than secondary to increased adiposity, as young Y1(-/-) mice are lean and show the same effect. The mechanism behind this is likely because of increased liver and muscle protein levels of carnitine palmitoyltransferase-1 (CPT-1) and maximal activity of key enzymes involved in beta-oxidation; beta-hydroxyacyl CoA dehydrogenase (betaHAD) and medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD), leading to increased mitochondrial capacity for fatty acid transport and oxidation. These effects are controlled by peripheral Y1-receptor signalling, as adult-onset conditional Y1 knockdown in peripheral tissues also leads to increased lipid oxidation, liver CPT-1 levels and betaHAD activity. Importantly, these mice are resistant to diet-induced obesity. CONCLUSIONS: This work shows the primary function of peripheral Y1 receptors in the regulation of oxidative fuel selection and adiposity, opening up new avenues for anti-obesity treatments by targeting energy utilization in peripheral tissues rather than suppressing appetite by central effects.