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Reference: Oldman, Anna Dorothy., (1994). The role of serotonin in the control of mood anf appetite in humans. DPhil. University of Oxford.Citable link to this page:


The role of serotonin in the control of mood anf appetite in humans

Abstract: This thesis addresses the effects of pharmacological manipulations of brain 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT, serotonin) and it's precursor, tryptophan, on appetite and moodin humans. Chapter 1 is a presentation of the literature reviewed in order to carry out thestudies contained within this thesis. General methods are described in Chapter 2; theseinclude biochemical methods for analysis of plasma tryptophan, and measures andassessment methodologies for analysis of appetite and mood. This chapter also containsa pilot study of the methodology adopted for lowering plasma tryptophan levels.The first experiment (Chapter 3) examines the effects of calorie controlled dieting onplasma tryptophan, mood and appetite using a longitudinal design. Dieters were comparedwith a matched control group, and the results demonstrated that whilst dieting does notappear to alter mood or responses to food in a laboratory setting, it does lower levels ofplasma tryptophan compared with baseline and with controls. In view of the confoundingvariables of dieting on mood and appetite, the second experiment (Chapter 4) examined theeffects of an acute, laboratory based depletion of plasma tryptophan on these parametersin healthy female volunteers acting as their own controls. Significant depletion of plasmatryptophan was not associated with alterations in mood or appetite.The third experiment (Chapter 5) addresses the issue of predisposing factors in the effectsof tryptophan depletion on mood and appetite. This was carried out with a group of womenwho had recovered from an eating disorder (bulimia nervosa). These subjects were actingas their own controls but were also compared directly with the non-clinical group ofsubjects from the previous experiment. This experiment demonstrated interestingdifferences in the eating behaviour of the two groups, and a significant difference inbaseline levels of total plasma tryptophan. There were, however, no effects of tryptophandepletion on mood or appetite in the women who had recovered from bulimia nervosa.In view of the apparent lack of effect of tryptophan depletion on mood or appetite, theremaining two experiments examine the role of specific 5-HT receptor subtypes in thecontrol of appetite. Chapter 6 examines the effect of meta-chlorophenylpiperazine (mCPP),a 5-HT2C receptor agonist on appetite, and Chapter 7 examines the effect of 5-HT3 receptorblockade on amphetamine anorexia. Whilst the data from these experiments do not supporta role for these receptor subtypes in appetite, it is suggested that this is a potentially fruitfularea for future research.The results generated by the above experiments are discussed in Chapter 8 in the light ofother research findings. The methodologies adopted for these experiments and theimplications of these studies for future research are discussed.

Type of Award:DPhil Level of Award:Doctoral Awarding Institution: University of Oxford Notes:The digital copy of this thesis has been made available thanks to the generosity of Dr Leonard PolonskyNotes:Some copyrighted material has been removed from the downloadable file. To view the full thesis please contact the ORA team.


Cowen, PhilipMore by this contributor



Phil CowenMore by this contributor


 Bibliographic Details

Issue Date: 1994Identifiers

Urn: uuid:d2315835-59d5-4e7d-a157-0749e95f27c5

Source identifier: 602817879 Item Description

Type: Thesis;

Language: eng Subjects: Serotonin Affective disorders Appetite Tiny URL: td:602817879


Autor: Oldman, Anna Dorothy. - institutionUniversity of Oxford facultyMedical Sciences Division - - - - Contributors Cowen, Philip More



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