Central noradrenaline transporter availability in highly obese, non-depressed individuals
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The brain noradrenaline (NA) system plays an important role in the central nervous control of energy balance and is thus implicated in the pathogenesis of obesity. The specific processes modulated by this neurotransmitter which lead to obesity and overeating are still a matter of debate.
We tested the hypothesis that in vivo NA transporter (NAT) availability is changed in obesity by using positron emission tomography (PET) and S,S-[11C]O-methylreboxetine (MRB) in twenty subjects comprising ten highly obese (body mass index BMI > 35 kg/m2), metabolically healthy, non-depressed individuals and ten non-obese (BMI < 30 kg/m2) healthy controls.
Overall, we found no significant differences in binding potential (BPND) values between obese and non-obese individuals in the investigated brain regions, including the NAT-rich thalamus (0.40 ± 0.14 vs. 0.41 ± 0.18; p = 0.84) though additional discriminant analysis correctly identified individual group affiliation based on regional BPND in all but one (control) case. Furthermore, inter-regional correlation analyses indicated different BPND patterns between both groups but this did not survive testing for multiple comparions.
Our data do not find an overall involvement of NAT changes in human obesity. However, preliminary secondary findings of distinct regional and associative patterns warrant further investigation.
KeywordsNoradrenaline Noradrenaline transporter PET PET imaging Obesity
The work is supported by the IFB Adiposity Diseases, Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Germany, FKZ: 01E01001 (http://www.bmbf.de). Results of the study were partially presented at the 29th World Congress of The International College of Neuropsychopharmacology, 2014, in Vancouver, Canada, and at the 26th Annual Congress of the European Association of Nuclear Medicine, 2013, Lyon, France.
Compliance with ethical standards
This study was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (FKZ: 01EO1001).
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflicts of interest directly related to the subject of this work.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ICH Guideline for Good Clinical Practice (GCP) and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments. The study was approved by the ethics committee of the Medical Faculty of the University of Leipzig (registered under the number 206-10-08032010) and the German Bundesamt für Strahlenschutz/Federal Office for Radiation Protection (number Z5-22461-2-2011-002), and registered at the European Clinical Trial Database (EudraCT 2012-000568-32) and the German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS).
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
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