A group of Danish researchers, led by David Erritzoe, used PET scans to link obesity and serotonin receptors. This suggests the possibility of curbing appetite with future drugs.
We found that a high body mass index is associated with a high density of the 5-HT2A receptor in several brain regions--suggesting that overweight people have an upregulation (increase) of their brain 5-HT2A receptors. ...A number of drugs that block the 5-HT2A receptor are associated with weight gain; at the same time, studies in animals suggest that stimulation of the 5-HT2A receptor induces weight loss," David Erritzoe, research fellow with the Neurobiology Research Unit and Center for Integrated Molecular Brain Imaging in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Radiotracers, attached to simple compounds such as glucose, are administered to a patient and then detected or "traced" by a special type of camera that works with computers to provide precise pictures of the area of the body being imaged.
More than60 million U.S. adults 20 years of age and older are obese. Being obese increases the risk of many diseases and health conditions, including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and some cancers.