Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) receptor 1 (MCHR1) is a class A G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR). The MCH-MCHR1 system has been implicated in the regulation of feeding, emotional processing, and sleep in rodents. Recent work revealed that MCHR1 is selectively expressed in neuronal primary cilia of the central nervous system. Cilia have various chemosensory functions in many types of cell, and ciliary dysfunction is associated with ciliopathies such as polycystic kidney disease and obesity. Although dynamic modulation of neuronal cilia length is observed in obese mice, the functional interaction of neuronal ciliary GPCR and its endogenous ligand has not yet been elucidated. We report here that MCH treatment significantly reduced cilia length in hTERT-RPE1 cells (hRPE1 cells) transfected with MCHR1. Quantitative analyses indicated that MCH-induced cilia shortening progressed in a dose-dependent manner with an EC50 lower than 1nM when cells were treated for 6h. Although the assembly and disassembly of primary cilia are tightly coupled to the cell cycle, cell cycle reentry was not a determinant of MCH-induced cilia shortening. We confirmed that MCH elicited receptor internalization, Ca(2+) mobilization, ERK and Akt phosphorylation, and inhibition of cyclic AMP accumulation in MCHR1-expressing hRPE1 cells. Among these diverse pathways, we revealed that Gi/o-dependent Akt phosphorylation was an important component in the initial stage of MCH-induced cilia length shortening. Furthermore, induction of fewer cilia by Kif3A siRNA treatment significantly decreased the MCH-mediated phosphorylation of Akt, indicating the functional importance of the MCHR1-Akt pathway in primary cilia. Taken together, the present data suggest that the MCH-MCHR1 axis may modulate the sensitivity of cells to external environments by controlling the cilia length. Therefore, further characterization of MCHR1 as a ciliary GPCR will provide a potential molecular mechanism to link cilia length control with obesity.