The effect of appetite suppressants on pineal function

Mchunu, Bangani Isaac (1994) The effect of appetite suppressants on pineal function. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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The pineal gland has become the subject of considerable investigation as it provides a productive experimental model for studying circadian rhythms and regulation of end organs. In the rat, the pineal gland provides a convenient model for investigating the noradrenergic receptor system and the effects of various drugs on this system. The effect of appetite suppressants on the rat pineal gland function is described. Appetite suppressants increase melatonin synthesis in organ cultures of rat pineal glands. This effect appears to be mediated by noradrenaline acting on β-adrenoceptors on the pinealocyte membrane. When β-adrenoceptors are blocked, the appetite suppressant-induced rise in melatonin synthesis is prevented. Depletion of noradrenaline in sympathetic nerve terminals also prevented the appetite suppressant-induced rise in melatonin synthesis. Activation of β-adrenoceptors is followed by a rise in N-acetyltransferase activity via a cyclic adenosine monophosphate second messenger system. The effect of appetite suppressants on the activity of liver tryptophan pyrrolase was also investigated. The activity of this enzyme is an important determinant of tryptophan availability to the brain and consequently of brain serotonin levels. The results show that appetite suppressants inhibit both holoenzyme and total enzyme activities of tryptophan pyrrolase. This finding suggests that appetite suppressants may act by inhibiting tryptophan pyrrolase activity thereby increasing brain serotonin, a phenomenon known to be associated with anorexia. There are two possible mechanisms by which appetite suppressants inhibit tryptophan pyrrolase activity. Firstly, these agents, being drugs of dependence, may increase liver NADPH concentrations which inhibit pyrrolase activity. Secondly, appetite suppressants may act on the pineal gland to stimulate melatonin synthesis. Melatonin inhibits pyrrolase activity in a dose-dependent manner. This inhibition will elevate plasma tryptophan levels which result in a rise in brain serotonin synthesis. The present study suggests a possible relationship between the pineal gland and appetite centres in the hypothalamus. Melatonin may have a direct effect on appetite centres since food restriction is associated with an increased melatonin binding in the hypothalamus. If this possible relationship can be extended, melatonin can open new possibilities for the control of food intake and consequently, of pathological obesity.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Appetite suppressants, Pineal gland, Liver, Tryptophan, Pyrrolase
Subjects:Q Science > QD Chemistry > QD241 Organic chemistry > QD415 Biochemistry
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Science > Biochemistry, Microbiology & Biotechnology
Supervisors:Daya, Santy
ID Code:3870
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:30 Oct 2012 06:15
Last Modified:30 Oct 2012 06:15
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