Oct. 10, 2013 - Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have discovered key details of a brain-to-body signaling circuit that enables roundworms to lose weight independently of food intake. The weight-loss circuit is activated by combined signals from the worm versions of the neurotransmitter serotonin and adrenaline, and there are reasons to suspect that it exists in a similar form in humans and other mammals.
"Boosting serotonin signaling has been seen as a viable strategy for weight loss in people, but our result hint that boosting serotonin plus adrenaline should produce more potent effects---and there is already some evidence that's the case,"said TSRI Assistant professor Supriya Srinivasana, who was Principal investigator for the study, Published online before print on October 10, 2013 by the jounal Cell Metabolism.
However, if researchers could figure out a safer way to boost serotonin, they may be able to improve weight loss outcomes without the negative side effects, according to Srinivasan.
"One potential avenue would be instead of giving combination serotonin and androgenic-like drugs like Fen-phen that lead to cardiovascular effects, we could find ways to use adrenal-like signaling to boost neural Serotonin,"srinivasan said.
"We wonder if boosting not just Serotonin but Serotonin plus a little bit of adrenaline is the real key to more potent weight loss, said Srinivasan .