Nucleus of the Solitary Tract Serotonin 5-HT2C Receptors Modulate Food Intake

Giuseppe d'Agostino* (Corresponding Author), David Lyons, Claudia Cristiano, Miriam Lettieri, Cristian Olarte-Sanchez, Luke K. Burke, Megan Greenwald-Yarnell, Celine Cansell, Barbora Doslikova, Teodora Georgescu, Pablo Blanco Martinez de Morentin, Martin G Myers Jr., Justin J. Rochford, Lora K. Heisler* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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To meet the challenge to human health posed by obesity, a better understanding of the regulation of feeding is essential. Medications targeting 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT; serotonin) 2C receptors (htr2c; 5-HT2CR) improve obesity. Here we probed the functional significance of 5-HT2CRs specifically within the brainstem nucleus of the solitary tract (5-HT2CRNTS) in feeding behavior. Selective activation of 5-HT2CRNTS decreased feeding and was sufficient to mediate acute food intake reductions elicited by the 5-HT2CR agonist obesity medication lorcaserin. Similar to pro-opiomelanocortin neurons expressed within the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (POMCARC), a subset of POMCNTS neurons co-expressed 5-HT2CRs and were activated by 5-HT2CR agonists. Knockdown of POMCNTS prevented the acute appetite-suppressive effect of lorcaserin, whereas POMCARC knockdown prevented the full anorectic effect. These data identify 5-HT2CRNTS as a sufficient subpopulation of 5-HT2CRs in reducing food intake when activated and reveal that 5-HT2CR agonist obesity medications require POMC within the NTS and ARC to reduce food intake.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-630.e5
Number of pages18
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number4
Early online date23 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2018

Bibliographical note

The authors wish to thank members of staff of the Medical Research Facility, University of Aberdeen, Ms. Raffaella Chianese and Dr. Susan Jalicy, for technical assistance. PX330 and PX552 plasmids were a gift from Prof. Feng Zhang (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts, USA). DREADD vectors were a gift from Prof. Bryan Roth (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA). PomcDsRED and PomcNEO mice were a gift from Prof. Malcolm Low (University of Michigan, Michigan, USA). Codes to analyze operant-responding for food were a gift from Dr. Vladimir Orduña Trujillo (National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico). This work was supported by the Wellcome Trust (L.K.H.; WT098012), Wellcome Trust and the University of Aberdeen (G.D.; 105625/Z/14/Z), Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (L.K.H., BB/K001418/1, BB/N017838/1; and J.J.R., BB/K017772/1), Medical Research Council (J.J.R., MR/L002620/1; G.D., MR/P009824/1; L.K.H., J.J.R., G.D., MC/PC/15077), British Society of Neuroendocrinology (G.D.), NIH and the Marilyn H. Vincent Foundation (M.G.M.; DK056731, DK034933).


  • serotonin
  • 5-HT2CR
  • lorcaserin
  • food intake
  • nucleus of the solitary tract
  • obesity


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