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Cell Metab. 2011 May 4;13(5):584-91. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2011.03.016.

Leptin does not directly affect CNS serotonin neurons to influence appetite.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Cambridge, UK.


Serotonin (5-HT) and leptin play important roles in the modulation of energy balance. Here we investigated mechanisms by which leptin might interact with CNS 5-HT pathways to influence appetite. Although some leptin receptor (LepRb) neurons lie close to 5-HT neurons in the dorsal raphe (DR), 5-HT neurons do not express LepRb. Indeed, while leptin hyperpolarizes some non-5-HT DR neurons, leptin does not alter the activity of DR 5-HT neurons. Furthermore, 5-HT depletion does not impair the anorectic effects of leptin. The serotonin transporter-cre allele (Sert(cre)) is expressed in 5-HT (and developmentally in some non-5-HT) neurons. While Sert(cre) promotes LepRb excision in a few LepRb neurons in the hypothalamus, it is not active in DR LepRb neurons, and neuron-specific Sert(cre)-mediated LepRb inactivation in mice does not alter body weight or adiposity. Thus, leptin does not directly influence 5-HT neurons and does not meaningfully modulate important appetite-related determinants via 5-HT neuron function.

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