Scientific article
Open access

Chronic Oxytocin Administration as a Treatment Against Impaired Leptin Signaling or Leptin Resistance in Obesity

Published inFrontiers in endocrinology, vol. 6, 119
Publication date2015

This review summarizes the existing literature on the effects of oxytocin administration in the treatment of obesity in different animal models and in humans, focusing on the central control of food intake, the oxytocin effects on adipose tissue, and the relationships between oxytocin and leptin. Oxytocin is a hypothalamic nonapeptide synthesized mainly in the paraventricular and supraoptic nuclei projecting to the pituitary, where it reaches the peripheral circulation, as well as to other brain regions. Moreover, leptin modulates oxytocin levels and activates oxytocin neurons in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus, which innervates the nucleus of the solitary tract, partly responsible for the brain-elicited oxytocin effects. Taking into account that oxytocin is located downstream leptin, it was hypothesized that oxytocin treatment would be effective in decreasing body weight in leptin-resistant DIO animals, as well as in those with leptin or with leptin receptor deficiency. Several groups have demonstrated that in such animal models (rats, mice, and rhesus monkeys), central or peripheral oxytocin administration decreases body weight, mainly due to a decrease in fat mass, demonstrating that an oxytocin treatment is able to partly overcome leptin deficiency or resistance. Moreover, a pilot clinical study demonstrated the efficiency of oxytocin in the treatment of obesity in human subjects, confirming the results obtained in the different animal models. Larger multicenter studies are now needed to determine whether the beneficial effects of oxytocin treatment can apply not only to obese but also to type 2 diabetic patients. These studies should also shed some light on the molecular mechanisms of oxytocin action in humans.

Citation (ISO format)
ALTIRRIBA GUTIERREZ, Jorge, POHER, Anne-Laure, ROHNER-JEANRENAUD, Françoise. Chronic Oxytocin Administration as a Treatment Against Impaired Leptin Signaling or Leptin Resistance in Obesity. In: Frontiers in endocrinology, 2015, vol. 6, p. 119. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2015.00119
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1664-2392

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