Evidence for brain serotonin-mediated control of carbohydrate consumption in normal weight and obese humans.

Pijl H, Koppeschaar HP, Cohen AF, Iestra JA, Schoemaker HC, Frölich M, Onkenhout W, Meinders AE

A plasma insulin and amino acid-mediated mechanism is thought to modulate brain serotonin concentration, thereby regulating carbohydrate consumption on a meal to meal basis. It has been suggested that obesity is associated with a defect in the appetite control system. Furthermore, post-absorptive plasma levels of several amino acids are increased in obese subjects, which is ascribed to obesity-associated insulin resistance and/or hyperinsulinemia. We studied breakfast-induced changes in plasma ratios of tryptophan to other large neutral amino acids and associated differences in macro-nutrient composition of lunch food in normal weight and obese human subjects. The study was randomized, double blind and cross-over with a 2 x 2 factorial design with drug/placebo and type of breakfast as factors. Nineteen healthy, non-obese (body mass index (BMI) 22.5 +/- 1.9 kg/m2, mean +/- s.d.) and 19 obese (BMI 34.7 +/- 6.2 kg/m2) female volunteers were treated with either 60 mg fluoxetine (FXT), a serotonin re-uptake blocker specifically acting in the brain, or placebo for four days with a wash-out period between treatments of four weeks. The subjects received either a carbohydrate (CHO) breakfast (80 g maltodextrin, 300 kcal) or a protein-rich (PROT) breakfast (60% milk protein and 40% CHO, 300 kcal) on two consecutive days (days 4 and 5 of each treatment period). Plasma glucose, insulin and amino acids were measured at several time points after breakfast. Three hours after breakfast, subjects were able to choose from 29 different food items. Total energy content and weight of lunch food and energy percentage of each macronutrient were calculated.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)