The role of transcriptional regulators in central control of appetite and body weight

Roberto Coppari, Giorgio Ramadori, Joel K. Elmquist

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Individuals who live in industrialized countries often eat a calorie-rich diet and perform little physical activity. These habits are thought to be critical contributors to the rapidly rising incidence of obesity, a condition that affects hundreds of millions of people worldwide. High-calorie intake alters metabolic-sensing pathways in central nervous system neurons, and these changes have pathogenic roles in the development of obesity. This review aims to summarize our current knowledge about the neuronal populations (the central melanocortin system in particular) and transcriptional regulators, including STAT3 and FOXO1, that are involved in the maintenance of normal body weight. We describe the interactions between these transcriptional factors and their target genes, which encode the main appetite-regulating neuropeptides (agouti-related peptide and α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone). We discuss the transcriptional co-activator PGC-1-α and the supposed metabolic-sensor protein SIRT1, and their potential roles as targets for novel antiobesity medications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)160-166
Number of pages7
JournalNature Clinical Practice Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Body-weight homeostasis
  • Feeding
  • Melanocortin system
  • Obesity
  • Transcription factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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