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Single or combined ablation of peripheral serotonin and p21 limit adipose tissue expansion and metabolic alterations in early adulthood in mice fed a normocaloric diet


Saponara, E and Chen, R and Reding, T and Zuellig, R and Henstridge, DC and Graf, R and Sonda, S, Single or combined ablation of peripheral serotonin and p21 limit adipose tissue expansion and metabolic alterations in early adulthood in mice fed a normocaloric diet, PLoS One, 16, (8) pp. 1-17. ISSN 1932-6203 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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2021. The Authors. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, (, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0255687


Identifying the fundamental molecular factors that drive weight gain even in the absence of hypercaloric food intake, is crucial to enable development of novel treatments for the global pandemic of obesity. Here we investigated both adipose tissue-specific and systemic events that underlie the physiological weight gain occurring during early adulthood in mice fed a normocaloric diet. In addition, we used three different genetic models to identify molecular factors that promote physiological weight gain during normocaloric and hypercaloric diets. We demonstrated that normal physiological weight gain was accompanied by an increase in adipose tissue mass and the presence of cellular and metabolic signatures typically found during obesity, including adipocyte hypertrophy, macrophage recruitment into visceral fat and perturbed glucose metabolism. At the molecular level, this was associated with an increase in adipose tissue tryptophan hydroxylase 1 (Tph1) transcripts, the key enzyme responsible for the synthesis of peripheral serotonin. Genetic inactivation of Tph1 was sufficient to limit adipose tissue expansion and associated metabolic alterations. Mechanistically, we discovered that Tph1 inactivation resulted in down-regulation of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21Waf1/Cip1 expression. Single or double ablation of Tph1 and p21 were equally effective in preventing adipocyte expansion and systemic perturbation of glucose metabolism, upon both normocaloric and hypercaloric diets. Our results suggest that serotonin and p21 act as a central molecular determinant of weight gain and associated metabolic alterations, and highlights the potential of targeting these molecules as a pharmacologic approach to prevent the development of obesity.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:metabolism, obesity, diabetes, serotonin, adipose tissue
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Biochemistry and cell biology
Research Field:Cell metabolism
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biological sciences
UTAS Author:Henstridge, DC (Dr Darren Henstridge)
UTAS Author:Sonda, S (Dr Sabrina Sonda)
ID Code:147349
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Health Sciences
Deposited On:2021-10-27
Last Modified:2021-11-05
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