Background and purpose: Most forms of human obesity are characterized by impaired leptin sensitivity and, therefore, the effectiveness of anti-obesity leptin therapy in these leptin-resistant obese patients is marginal. Hence, the development of strategies to increase leptin sensitivity is of high priority in the field of obesity research.
Experimental approach: We first examined the effects of co-administration of leptin and meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP), an agonist of 5-HT2C and 5-HT1B receptors, on energy balance in leptin-resistant diet-induced obese (DIO) mice. We further assessed leptin-induced phosphorylation of the STAT-3 (pSTAT3) in various brain regions of DIO mice pretreated with mCPP or in mice genetically lacking 5-HT2C receptors.
Results: Co-administration of mCPP with leptin had an additive effect on reducing body weight in DIO mice. Furthermore, mCPP pretreatment in DIO mice enhanced leptin-induced pSTAT3 in the arcuate nucleus, the ventromedial hypothalamic nucleus, and the ventral premammillary nucleus. Finally, deletion of 5-HT2C receptors significantly blunted leptin-induced pSTAT3 in these same hypothalamic regions.
Conclusions and implications: Our study provides evidence that drugs, which activate 5-HT2C receptors, could function as leptin sensitizers and be used in combination with leptin to provide additional weight loss in DIO.
© 2015 The British Pharmacological Society.