Serotonin 5-hydroxytryptamine2c receptor signaling in hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin neurons: Role in energy homeostasis in females

Jian Qiu, Changhui Xue, Martha A. Bosch, Jonathan G. Murphy, Wei Fan, Oline K. Rønnekleiv, Martin J. Kelly

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65 Scopus citations


Hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons play a critical role in the regulation of energy balance, and there is a convergence of critical synaptic input including GABA and serotonin on POMC neurons to regulate their output. We found previously that 17β-estradiol (E2) reduced the potency of the GABAB receptor agonist baclofen to activate G protein-coupled inwardly rectifying potassium (GIRK) channels in hypothalamic POMC neurons through a membrane estrogen receptor (mER) via a Gαq phospholipase C (PLC)-protein kinase Cδ-protein kinase A pathway. We hypothesized that the mER and neurotransmitter receptor signaling pathways converge to control energy homeostasis. Because 5-HT2C receptors mediate many of the effects of serotonin in POMC neurons, we elucidated the common signaling pathways of E2 and 5-HT in guinea pigs using single-cell reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), real time RT-PCR, and whole-cell patch recording. Both 5-hydroxytryptamine2C (5-HT2C) and 5-HT2A receptors were coexpressed in POMC neurons. The 5-HT2A/C agonist (±)-1-(2,5-dimethoxy-4- iodophenyl)-2-aminopropane (DOI) desensitized the GABAB response in a dose-dependent manner, which was antagonized by the selective 5-HT2C receptor antagonists 8-[5-(2,4-dimethoxy-5-(4- trifluoromethylphenylsulphonamido) phenyl-5-oxopentyl]1,3,8-triazaspiro[4.5] decane-2,4-dione hydrochloride (RS102221) and 1,2,3, 4,10,14b-hexahydro-2- methyldibenzo [c,f]pyrazino[1,2-a]-azepine hydrochloride (ORG 3363). The 5-HT2C receptor was Gαq-coupled to PLC activation and hydrolysis of plasma membrane phosphatidylinositol bisphosphate to directly inhibit GIRK channel activity. Coapplication of the two agonists at their EC50 concentrations (DOI, 20 μM, and E2, 50 nM) produced additive effects. Although there was a significant gender difference in the effects of E2 on baclofen responses, there was no gender difference in 5-HT2C receptor-mediated effects. Finally, both DOI and estrogen (intracerebroventricular) inhibited feeding in ovariectomized female mice. Therefore, the Gαq signaling pathways of the mER and 5-HT2C receptors may converge to enhance synaptic efficacy in brain circuits that are critical for maintaining homeostatic functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)885-896
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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