Serotonin is a hormone blockade of brown fat burning
A KAIST research team recently found that serotonin is produced in adipose tissues and regulates systemic energy metabolism. As far as targeting anti-obesity treatment, this research revealed an inhibition of serotonin function in adipose tissues.
Obesity which is often illustrated by our expanding waste lines etc, is in fact at the biochemical level caused by excessive energy status. So in cold calculating terms, the best strategy for anti-obesity treatment is inducing a negative energy balance. As it is known that serotonin (5-HT) is an anorexigenic neurotransmitter in the brain, enhancing 5-HT function has been introduced as a possible anti-obesity treatment. However, research has shown that up-regulated systemic 5-HT is associated with increased adiposity, suggesting that peripheral 5-HT may affect organismal energy homeostasis in a different manner when compared to central 5-WT.
The Molecular Diabetology Research Lab (MDRL) at KAIST recently revealed 5-HT regulates energy metabolism in white and brown adipose tissues.
The MDRL found that tryptophan hydroxylase 1 (Tph1), a rate-limiting enzyme in 5-HT synthesis, is expressed in adipose tissues and up-regulated upon induction of a high-fat diet. Pharmacological inhibition of 5-HT synthesis leads to inhibition of lipogenesis in epididymal white adipose tissue (WAT), induction of browning in inguinal WAT and activation of adaptive thermogenesis in brown adipose tissue (BAT). Adipose tissues of mice with inducible Tph1 KO also exhibited a similar phenotype, suggesting 5-HT has localized effects on adipose tissue. In addition, MDRL found that Htr3a KO mice exhibited increased energy expenditure and reduced weight gain when fed a high-fat diet. Treatment with an antagonist against Htr2a reduced lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Collectively, these data suggested important roles for adipocyte-derived 5-HT in controlling energy homeostasis. Pharmacological intervention targeting 5-HT inhibition at adipose tissue can be a novel approach for anti-obesity treatment.
“Regulation of systemic energy homeostasis by serotonin in adipose tissues”
* lab webpage