Author(s): Blevins JE, Ho JM
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Abstract Obesity and its associated metabolic disorders are growing health concerns in the US and worldwide. In the US alone, more than two-thirds of the adult population is classified as either overweight or obese , highlighting the need to develop new, effective treatments for these conditions. Whereas the hormone oxytocin is well known for its peripheral effects on uterine contraction during parturition and milk ejection during lactation, release of oxytocin from somatodendrites and axonal terminals within the central nervous system (CNS) is implicated in both the formation of prosocial behaviors and in the control of energy balance. Recent findings demonstrate that chronic administration of oxytocin reduces food intake and body weight in diet-induced obese (DIO) and genetically obese rodents with impaired or defective leptin signaling. Importantly, chronic systemic administration of oxytocin out to 6 weeks recapitulates the effects of central administration on body weight loss in DIO rodents at doses that do not result in the development of tolerance. Furthermore, these effects are coupled with induction of Fos (a marker of neuronal activation) in hindbrain areas (e.g. dorsal vagal complex (DVC)) linked to the control of meal size and forebrain areas (e.g. hypothalamus, amygdala) linked to the regulation of food intake and body weight. This review assesses the potential central and peripheral targets by which oxytocin may inhibit body weight gain, its regulation by anorexigenic and orexigenic signals, and its potential use as a therapy that can circumvent leptin resistance and reverse the behavioral and metabolic abnormalities associated with DIO and genetically obese models.
This article was published in Rev Endocr Metab Disord
and referenced in Clinical Pharmacology & Biopharmaceutics