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J Physiol Biochem. 2013 Mar;69(1):69-74. doi: 10.1007/s13105-012-0188-5. Epub 2012 Jun 23.

Hypophagia and induction of serotonin transporter gene expression in raphe nuclei of male and female rats after short-term fluoxetine treatment.

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  • 1Unidad de Cartografía Cerebral, Instituto Pluridisciplinar, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Madrid, Spain.


Serotonin (5-HT) is one of the regulators of feeding in humans. Drugs acting on the serotoninergic system are used to treat bulimia nervosa and to enhance the effect of hypocaloric diets in overweight subjects. They act rapidly to normalise feeding when used to treat eating-related problems. To explore the role of the 5-HT transporter (serotonin transporter (SERT)) in the short-term action of serotonin selective reuptake inhibitor fluoxetine, rats were i.p. given the drug for five consecutive days. Acute administration of fluoxetine in male and female rats produced a strong reduction in food intake, an effect that held up when daily treatment was maintained for five consecutive days. This reduction translated into a diminution of body weight that was statistically significant in the case of the males. As a reflection of the body weight change in rats killed after the fifth daily drug injection, retroperitoneal fat pad also decreased; a diminution that was statistically significant in the case of male rats. In these conditions, plasma leptin levels of both male and female rats were lower than in untreated animals. While acute fluoxetine administration did not modify SERT gene expression, subchronic drug treatment increased the content of SERT mRNA in the midbrain raphe complex of both rat genders. These findings may contribute to explain the role of SERT in fluoxetine action on binging and as an adjunct to hypocaloric diets.

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