Activation of 5-HT1A receptors in raphe pallidus inhibits leptin-evoked increases in brown adipose tissue thermogenesis

Shaun F. Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


To elucidate the central neural pathways contributing to the thermogenic component of the autonomic response to intravenous administration of leptin, experiments were conducted in urethane-chloralose-anesthetized, ventilated rats to address 1) the role of neurons in the rostral ventromedial medulla, including raphe pallidus (RPa), in the leptin-evoked stimulation of brown adipose tissue (BAT) sympathetic nerve activity (SNA); and 2) the potential thermolytic effect of 5-hydroxytryptamine1A (5-HT1A) receptors on RPa neurons that influence BAT thermogenesis. Leptin (1 mg/kg) administration increased BAT SNA by 1,219% of control, BAT temperature by 2.8°C, expired CO2 by 1.8%, heart rate by 90 beats/min, and mean arterial pressure by 12 mmHg. Microinjection of the 5-HT1A receptor agonist 8-hydroxy-2-(di-n-propylamino)tetralin (8-OH-DPAT) into RPa resulted in a prompt and sustained reversal of the leptin-evoked stimulation of BAT SNA, BAT thermogenesis, and heart rate, with these variables returning to their pre-leptin control levels. Subsequent microinjection of the selective 5-HT 1A receptor antagonist WAY-100635 into RPa reversed the BAT thermolytic effects of 8-OH-DPAT, returning BAT SNA and BAT temperature to the elevated levels after leptin. In conclusion, activation of neurons in RPa, possibly BAT sympathetic premotor neurons, is essential for the increases in BAT SNA, BAT thermogenesis, and heart rate stimulated by intravenous administration of leptin. Neurons in RPa express 5-HT1A receptors whose activation leads to reversal of the BAT thermogenic and the cardiovascular responses to intravenous leptin, possibly through hyperpolarization of local sympathetic premotor neurons. These results contribute to our understanding of central neural substrates for the augmented energy expenditure stimulated by leptin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R832-R837
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5 55-5
StatePublished - May 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • 5-hydroxytryptamine
  • Energy expenditure
  • Hypothermia
  • Sympathetic nerve activity
  • Temperature regulation
  • Ventromedial medulla

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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