Estradiol and Serotonin-Induced Anorexia
Rivera, Heidi M. (author)
Eckel, Lisa A. (professor directing dissertation)
Abood, Doris A. (outside committee member)
Contreras, Robert J. (committee member)
Houpt, Thomas A. (committee member)
Licht, Barbara G. (committee member)
Overton, J. Michael (committee member)
Department of Psychology (degree granting department)
Florida State University (degree granting institution)
The most potent, naturally occurring estrogen, estradiol, is involved in the physiological control of food intake. Estradiol appears to exert its anorexigenic effect by activating nuclear estrogen receptors (ERs), which are expressed widely in peripheral tissues and in the brain. However, the relative contributions of peripheral and central ERs to estradiol's anorexigenic effect are largely unknown. Experiment 1 utilized an antiestrogenic compound that fails to cross the blood brain barrier, ICI 182,780 (ICI), to determine whether blockade of either peripheral or central ERs could attenuate the anorexigenic effect of estradiol in ovariectomized (OVX) rats. Peripheral ICI treatment failed to attenuate estradiol's anorexigenic effect at a dose that was sufficient to block a classic ER action in the periphery. In contrast, central ICI infusion blocked estradiol's anorexigenic effect, suggesting that activation of central, but not peripheral, ERs is necessary for estradiol's anorexigenic effect. Estradiol appears to make rats more sensitive to the anorexigenic effects of serotonin (5-HT), a neurotransmitter that is released during meals and functions to inhibit meal size. For example, previous research from our lab revealed that estradiol increases the anorexigenic effects of fenfluramine (FEN), a serotonergic drug that produces a rapid increase in 5-HT neurotransmission. To begin to examine the mechanism by which estradiol increases the anorexigenic effects of 5-HT, Experiment 2 was designed to investigate whether estradiol increases the expression of serotonergic genes involved in the regulation of 5-HT neurotransmission, including pheochromocytoma 12 ETS domain transcription factor (Pet-1), 5-hydroxytryptophan transporter (5-HTT), and tryptophan-hydroxylase isoform 2 (TPH-2), in the midbrain raphe nuclei (dorsal and medial raphe nuclei) of OVX rats. Estradiol increased Pet-1, 5-HTT, and TPH-2 mRNA levels in midbrain raphe nuclei at a time that coincided with estradiol's inhibitory effect on food intake. These findings demonstrate that estradiol increases the expression of serotonergic genes in midbrain raphe nuclei and this effect may increase serotonergic tone in a feeding-related, neural circuit. The 5-HT agonist, FEN, increases 5-HT neurotransmission by increasing the release of 5-HT, by decreasing the reuptake of 5-HT, and by activating postsynaptic 5-HT2C receptors. Because of this lack of specificity, it is hard to determine whether estradiol may be acting presynaptically, to increase release of 5-HT, or postsynaptically, to increase activation of excitatory 5-HT2C receptors. Experiment 3 was designed to test the latter hypothesis. The anorexigenic effect of mCPP, a selective 5-HT2C receptor agonist, was examined in estradiol- and vehicle-treated OVX rats. In support of our hypothesis, the magnitude of mCPP-induced anorexia was significantly greater in estradiol-treated rats, relative to oil-treated rats. This finding suggests that estradiol interacts with the postsynaptic 5-HT2C receptor to decrease food intake. Together, these findings provide the first demonstrations that activation of central ERs is necessary for estradiol's anorexigenic effect, that a physiological regimen of estradiol treatment increases the expression of multiple serotonergic genes in the midbrain raphe nuclei, and that estradiol increases the anorexia produced by activation of postsynaptic 5-HT2C receptors. The results of the present studies suggest that estradiol interacts with the 5-HT system to control food intake in the female rat.
Estrogen, Food Intake, Hypophagia
April 2, 2009.
A Dissertation Submitted to the Department of Psychology in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
Florida State University
This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s). The copyright in theses and dissertations completed at Florida State University is held by the students who author them.