Sphingosine 1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1PR1) is a G-protein-coupled receptor for sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) that has a role in many physiological and pathophysiological processes. Here we show that the S1P/S1PR1 signalling pathway in hypothalamic neurons regulates energy homeostasis in rodents. We demonstrate that S1PR1 protein is highly enriched in hypothalamic POMC neurons of rats. Intracerebroventricular injections of the bioactive lipid, S1P, reduce food consumption and increase rat energy expenditure through persistent activation of STAT3 and the melanocortin system. Similarly, the selective disruption of hypothalamic S1PR1 increases food intake and reduces the respiratory exchange ratio. We further show that STAT3 controls S1PR1 expression in neurons via a positive feedback mechanism. Interestingly, several models of obesity and cancer anorexia display an imbalance of hypothalamic S1P/S1PR1/STAT3 axis, whereas pharmacological intervention ameliorates these phenotypes. Taken together, our data demonstrate that the neuronal S1P/S1PR1/STAT3 signalling axis plays a critical role in the control of energy homeostasis in rats.