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Available from: Aurelio Galli, Dec 31, 2013
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    ABSTRACT: The present work aims to study the effects induced by a chronic treatment with a novel CB1 antagonist (NESS038C6) in C57BL/6N diet-induced obesity (DIO) mice. Mice treated with NESS038C6 and fed with a fat diet (NESS038C6 FD) were compared with the following three reference experimental groups: DIO mice fed with the same fat diet used for NESS038C6 and treated with vehicle or the reference CB1 antagonist/inverse agonist rimonabant, "VH FD" and "SR141716 FD", respectively; DIO mice treated with vehicle and switched to a normal diet (VH ND). NESS038C6 chronic treatment (30 mg/kg/day for 31 days) determined a significant reduction in DIO mice weight relative to that of VH FD. The entity of the effect was comparable to that detected in both SR141716 FD and VH ND groups. Moreover, if compared to VH FD, NESS038C6 FD evidenced: (i) improvement of cardiovascular risk factors; (ii) significant decrease in adipose tissue leptin expression; (iii) increase in mRNA expression of hypothalamic orexigenic peptides and a decrease of anorexigenic peptides; (iv) expression increase of metabolic enzymes and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α in the liver; (v) normalization of monoaminergic transporters and neurotrophic expression in mesolimbic area. However, in contrast to the case of rimonabant, the novel CB1 antagonist improved the disrupted expression profile of genes linked to the hunger-satiety circuit, without altering monoaminergic transmission. In conclusion, the novel CB1 antagonist compound NESS038C6 may represent a useful candidate agent for the treatment of obesity and its metabolic complications, without or with reduced side effects relative to those instead observed with rimonabant.
    Behavioural brain research 07/2012; 234(2):192-204. DOI:10.1016/j.bbr.2012.06.033 · 3.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The dopamine (DA) transporter (DAT) is a major target for abused drugs and a key regulator of extracellular DA. A rapidly growing literature implicates insulin as an important regulator of DAT function. We showed previously that amphetamine (AMPH)-evoked DA release is markedly impaired in rats depleted of insulin with the diabetogenic agent streptozotocin (STZ). Similarly, functional magnetic resonance imaging experiments revealed that the blood oxygenation level-dependent signal following acute AMPH administration in STZ-treated rats is reduced. Here, we report that these deficits are restored by repeated, systemic administration of AMPH (1.78 mg/kg, every other day for 8 d). AMPH stimulates DA D(2) receptors indirectly by increasing extracellular DA. Supporting a role for D(2) receptors in mediating this "rescue," the effect was completely blocked by pre-treatment of STZ-treated rats with the D(2) receptor antagonist raclopride before systemic AMPH. D(2) receptors regulate DAT cell surface expression through ERK1/2 signaling. In ex vivo striatal preparations, repeated AMPH injections increased immunoreactivity of phosphorylated ERK1/2 (p-ERK1/2) in STZ-treated but not control rats. These data suggest that repeated exposure to AMPH can rescue, by activating D(2) receptors and p-ERK signaling, deficits in DAT function that result from hypoinsulinemia. Our data confirm the idea that disorders influencing insulin levels and/or signaling, such as diabetes and anorexia, can degrade DAT function and that insulin-independent pathways are present that may be exploited as potential therapeutic targets to restore normal DAT function.
    The Journal of Neuroscience : The Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience 02/2012; 32(8):2637-47. DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3759-11.2012 · 6.75 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Across species, the brain evolved to respond to natural rewards such as food and sex. These physiological responses are important for survival, reproduction and evolutionary processes. It is no surprise, therefore, that many of the neural circuits and signaling pathways supporting reward processes are conserved from Caenorhabditis elegans to Drosophilae, to rats, monkeys and humans. The central role of dopamine (DA) in encoding reward and in attaching salience to external environmental cues is well recognized. Less widely recognized is the role of reporters of the "internal environment", particularly insulin, in the modulation of reward. Insulin has traditionally been considered an important signaling molecule in regulating energy homeostasis and feeding behavior rather than a major component of neural reward circuits. However, research over recent decades has revealed that DA and insulin systems do not operate in isolation from each other, but instead, work together to orchestrate both the motivation to engage in consummatory behavior and to calibrate the associated level of reward. Insulin signaling has been found to regulate DA neurotransmission and to affect the ability of drugs that target the DA system to exert their neurochemical and behavioral effects. Given that many abused drugs target the DA system, the elucidation of how dopaminergic, as well as other brain reward systems, are regulated by insulin will create opportunities to develop therapies for drug and potentially food addiction. Moreover, a more complete understanding of the relationship between DA neurotransmission and insulin may help to uncover etiological bases for "food addiction" and the growing epidemic of obesity. This review focuses on the role of insulin signaling in regulating DA homeostasis and DA signaling, and the potential impact of impaired insulin signaling in obesity and psychostimulant abuse.
    Neuropharmacology 03/2011; 61(7):1123-8. DOI:10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.02.028 · 4.82 Impact Factor