Obesity is associated with high serotonin 4 receptor availability in the brain reward circuitry

Publication: Research - peer-reviewJournal article – Annual report year: 2012

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The neurobiology underlying obesity is not fully understood. The neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) is established as a satiety-generating signal, but its rewarding role in feeding is less well elucidated. From animal experiments there is now evidence that the 5-HT4 receptor (5-HT4R) is involved in food intake, and that pharmacological or genetic manipulation of the receptor in reward-related brain areas alters food intake.Here, we used positron emission tomography in humans to examine the association between cerebral 5-HT4Rs and common obesity.We found in humans a strong positive association between body mass index and the 5-HT4R density bilaterally in the two reward ‘hot spots’ nucleus accumbens and ventral pallidum, and additionally in the left hippocampal region and orbitofrontal cortex.These findings suggest that the 5-HT4R is critically involved in reward circuits that regulate people's food intake. They also suggest that pharmacological stimulation of the cerebral 5-HT4R may reduce reward-related overeating in humans.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNeuroImage
Publication date2012
Volume61
Issue4
Pages884-888
ISSN1053-8119
DOIs
StatePublished
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: 10

Keywords

  • PET, Serotonin 4 receptor, Neuroimaging, Obesity, Reward
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