GLP-1 and nicotine combination therapy engages hypothalamic and mesolimbic pathways to reverse obesity

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Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists promote nicotine avoidance. Here, we show that the crosstalk between GLP-1 and nicotine extends beyond effects on nicotine self-administration and can be exploited pharmacologically to amplify the anti-obesity effects of both signals. Accordingly, combined treatment with nicotine and the GLP-1R agonist, liraglutide, inhibits food intake and increases energy expenditure to lower body weight in obese mice. Co-treatment with nicotine and liraglutide gives rise to neuronal activity in multiple brain regions, and we demonstrate that GLP-1R agonism increases excitability of hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons and dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area (VTA). Further, using a genetically encoded dopamine sensor, we reveal that liraglutide suppresses nicotine-induced dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens in freely behaving mice. These data support the pursuit of GLP-1R-based therapies for nicotine dependence and encourage further evaluation of combined treatment with GLP-1R agonists and nicotinic receptor agonists for weight loss.
Original languageEnglish
Article number112466
JournalCell Reports
Issue number5
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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