Fto colocalizes with a satiety mediator oxytocin in the brain and upregulates oxytocin gene expression

Pawel K. Olszewski, Robert Fredriksson, Jenny D. Eriksson, Anaya Mitra, Katarzyna J. Radomska, Blake A. Gosnell, Maria N. Solvang, Allen S. Levine, Helgi B. Schiöth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Single nucleotide polymorphisms in the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene have been associated with obesity in humans. Alterations in Fto expression in transgenic animals affect body weight, energy expenditure and food intake. Fto, a nuclear protein and proposed transcription co-factor, has been speculated to affect energy balance through a functional relationship with specific genes encoding feeding-related peptides. Herein, we employed double immunohistochemistry and showed that the majority of neurons synthesizing a satiety mediator, oxytocin, coexpress Fto in the brain of male and female mice. We then overexpressed Fto in a murine hypothalamic cell line and, using qPCR, detected a 50% increase in the level of oxytocin mRNA. Expression levels of several other feeding-related genes, including neuropeptide Y (NPY) and Agouti-related protein (AgRP), were unaffected by the FTO transfection. Addition of 10 and 100. nmol oxytocin to the cell culture medium did not affect Fto expression in hypothalamic cells. We conclude that Fto, a proposed transcription co-factor, influences expression of the gene encoding a satiety mediator, oxytocin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)422-426
Number of pages5
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 13 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The studies were supported by the Swedish Research Council (Medicine), Swedish Brain Research Foundation, Novo Nordisk Foundation, National Institute of Drug Abuse, and National Institute of Diabetes and Ingestive and Kidney Diseases. We thank Kedar Ghimire for technical help with Western blotting.


  • Brain
  • Feeding
  • Obesity


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