Lorcaserin Administration Decreases Activation of Brain Centers in Response to Food Cues and These Emotion- and Salience-Related Changes Correlate With Weight Loss Effects: A 4-Week-Long Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Clinical Trial
Lorcaserin is a serotonin 5-hydroxytryptamine 2c receptor agonist effective in treating obesity. Studies in rodents have shown that lorcaserin acts in the brain to exert its weight-reducing effects, but this has not yet been studied in humans. We performed a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial with 48 obese participants and used functional MRI to study the effects of lorcaserin on the brain. Subjects taking lorcaserin had decreased brain activations in the attention-related parietal and visual cortices in response to highly palatable food cues at 1 week in the fasting state and in the parietal cortex in response to any food cues at 4 weeks in the fed state. Decreases in emotion- and salience-related limbic activity, including the insula and amygdala, were attenuated at 4 weeks. Decreases in caloric intake, weight, and BMI correlated with activations in the amygdala, parietal, and visual cortices at baseline. These data suggest that lorcaserin exerts its weight-reducing effects by decreasing attention-related brain activations to food cues (parietal and visual cortices) and emotional and limbic activity (insula, amygdala). Results indicating that baseline activation of the amygdala relates to increased efficacy suggest that lorcaserin would be of particular benefit to emotional eaters.
Clinical trial reg. no. NCT02400359, clinicaltrials.gov.
This article contains Supplementary Data online at http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/lookup/suppl/doi:10.2337/db16-0635/-/DC1.
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- Received May 18, 2016.
- Accepted June 30, 2016.
- © 2016 by the American Diabetes Association.