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  Sex differences in serotonin–hypothalamic connections underpin a diminished sense of emotional well-being with increasing body weight

Melasch, J., Rullmann, M., Hilbert, A., Luthardt, J., Becker, G. A., Patt, M., et al. (2016). Sex differences in serotonin–hypothalamic connections underpin a diminished sense of emotional well-being with increasing body weight. International Journal of Obesity, 40(8), 1268-1277. doi:10.1038/ijo.2016.63.

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Melasch, J.1, 2, Author
Rullmann, Michael1, 2, Author              
Hilbert, A.1, Author
Luthardt, J.2, Author
Becker, G. A.2, Author
Patt, M.2, Author
Stumvoll, M.1, 3, Author
Blüher, M.1, 3, Author
Villringer, Arno1, 4, 5, Author              
Arélin, Katrin1, 4, 5, Author              
Meyer, P. M.2, Author
Bresch, A.2, Author
Sabri, O.1, 2, Author
Hesse, S.1, 2, Author
Pleger, Burkhard1, 4, 5, 6, Author              
1Integrated Research and Treatment Center Adiposity Diseases, University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
2Department of Nuclear Medicine, University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
3Medical Department III, University Hospital Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
4Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634549              
5Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
6Department of Neurology, University Hospital Bergmannsheil, Bochum, Germany, ou_persistent22              


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 Abstract: Background/Objectives: The neurobiological mechanisms linking obesity to emotional distress related to weight remain largely unknown. Participants/Methods: Here we combined positron emission tomography, using the serotonin transporter (5-HTT) radiotracer [11C]-3-amino-4-(2-dimethylaminomethylphenylsulfanyl)-benzonitrile, with functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging, the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and the Impact of Weight on Quality of Life–Lite questionnaire (IWQOL-Lite) to investigate the role of central serotonin in the severity of depression (BDI-II), as well as in the loss of emotional well-being with body weight (IWQOL-Lite). Results: In a group of lean to morbidly obese individuals (n=28), we found sex differences in the 5-HTT availability-related connectivity of the hypothalamus. Males (n=11) presented a strengthened connectivity to the lateral orbitofrontal cortex, whereas in females (n=17) we found strengethened projections to the ventral striatum. Both regions are known as reward regions involved in mediating the emotional response to food. Their resting-state activity correlated positively to the body mass index (BMI) and IWQOL-Lite scores, suggesting that each region in both sexes also underpins a diminished sense of emotional well-being with body weight. Contrarily to males, we found that in females also the BDI-II positively correlated with the BMI and by trend with the activity in ventral striatum, suggesting that in females an increased body weight may convey to other mood dimensions than those weight-related ones included in the IWQOL-Lite. Conclusions: This study suggests sex differences in serotonin–hypothalamic connections to brain regions of the reward circuitry underpinning a diminished sense of emotional well-being with an increasing body weight.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2016-01-112015-12-042016-02-282016-06-142016-08
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1038/ijo.2016.63
PMID: 27102051
Other: Epub 2016
 Degree: -



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Title: International Journal of Obesity
  Other : Int. J. Obes.
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Hampshire, UK : Macmillan Press
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 40 (8) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 1268 - 1277 Identifier: ISSN: 0307-0565
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925515513_1