Melatonin treatment suppresses appetite genes and improves adipose tissue plasticity in diet-induced obese zebrafish
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Purpose: Overweight and obesity are important risk factors for diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and premature death in modern society. Recently, numerous natural and synthetic compounds have been tested in diet-induced obese animal models, to counteract obesity. Melatonin is a circadian hormone, produced by pineal gland and extra-pineal sources, involved in processes which have in common a rhythmic expression. In teleost, it can control energy balance by activating or inhibiting appetite-related peptides. The study aims at testing effects of melatonin administration to control-fed and overfed zebrafish, in terms of expression levels of orexigenic (Ghrelin, orexin, NPY) and anorexigenic (leptin, POMC) genes expression and morphometry of visceral and subcutaneous fat depots. Methods: Adult male zebrafish (n = 56) were divided into four dietary groups: control, overfed, control + melatonin, overfed + melatonin. The treatment lasted 5 weeks and BMI levels of every fish were measured each week. After this period fishes were sacrificed; morphological and morphometric studies have been carried out on histological sections of adipose tissue and adipocytes. Moreover, whole zebrafish brain and intestine were used for qRT-PCR. Results: Our results demonstrate that melatonin supplementation may have an effect in mobilizing fat stores, in increasing basal metabolism and thus in preventing further excess fat accumulation. Melatonin stimulates the anorexigenic and inhibit the orexigenic signals. Conclusions: It seems that adequate melatonin treatment exerts anti-obesity protective effects, also in a diet-induced obesity zebrafish model, that might be the result of the restoration of many factors: the final endpoint reached is weight loss and stabilization of weight gain. © 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.
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