This study investigates the molecular mechanisms and the center-periphery cross talk underlying the anti-obesity effect of the cannabinoid receptor 1 (CB(1)) antagonist/inverse agonist rimonabant in diet-induced obese (DIO) mice exposed to a 31 days chronic treatment with the drug. Present data showed a significant and stable weight loss both in animals treated with rimonabant 10mg/kg by oral gavage exposed to a high fat diet (SRFD) and in vehicle treated mice switched to a regular chow (VEND) with respect to vehicle fat diet fed mice (VEFD). Caloric intake was significantly lowered in SRFD and VEND during the first two and four days, respectively, then reaching the VEFD consume throughout the treatment. The drop of body weight was accompanied by leptin mRNA decrease in visceral fat tissue both in VEND and SRFD, as revealed by Real time PCR analysis. No difference in CB(1) mRNA receptor expression in hypothalamus and in visceral fat tissue among groups was observed. Leptin receptors were decreased in the hypothalamus of SRFD but not of VEND mice. Moreover, in SRFD and VEND mice the expression of orexigenic genes Neuropeptide Y and Agouti Related Protein (AGRP) was increased, while anorexigenic ones, Pro-OpioMelanoCortin (POMC) and Cocaine-and-Amphetamine-Regulated Transcript (CART) displayed no alteration in any group. This data contribute to clarify the molecular basis of the anti-obesity properties of rimonabant, underlying the role of the peripheral modulators which affect central circuits involved in the regulation of food intake and energy homeostasis.
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