Daniela COTA

Principal Investigator

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Médecine, Univ. Bologne, Italie (1999)
Postdoc Institut Max-Planck, Munich (2001–2003)
Postdoc Univ. Cincinnati, USA (2004-2007)
CR1 à l'Inserm (2008-2018)
DR2 à l'Inserm (2018)

Oct 1999: Degree in Medicine and Surgery (M.D., Magna cum Laude), University of Bologna, Italy
May 2000: Medical license


Since 2018: DR2 INSERM

Since 2008: Team Leader, Team: “Régulation de l'équilibre énergétique et obésité” (physiopathology of energy balance and obesity), NeuroCentre Magendie, Bordeaux, France

2008-2018: CR1 INSERM

2004– 2007: Postdoctoral Fellow with Profs. R. J. Seeley and S. C. Woods, Obesity Research Center, University of Cincinnati, USA

2001–2003: Postdoctoral Fellow with Profs. G. K. Stalla and U. Pagotto, Clinical Neuroendocrinology Group, Max-Planck institute of Psychiatry, Munich, Germany

2001–2003: Medical School of Specialization in Endocrinology and Metabolic Disorders, Director Prof. Renato Pasquali, University of Bologna, Italy


76 publication(s) since Juin 2000:

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* equal contribution
The indicated IF have been collected by the Web of Sciences in


03/11/2020 | Diabetes   IF 7.7
CB1 and GLP-1 Receptors Cross-Talk Provides New Therapies for Obesity.
Zizzari P, He R, Falk S, Bellocchio L, Allard C, Clark S, Lest, Quarta C

GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists effectively improve glycemia and body weight in patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity, but have limited weight-lowering efficacy and minimal insulin sensitizing action. In preclinical models, peripherally-restricted cannabinoid-1 receptor (CB1R) inhibitors, which are devoid of the neuropsychiatric side-effects observed with brain-penetrant CB1R blockers, ameliorate obesity and its multiple metabolic complications. Using mouse models with genetic loss of CB1R or GLP-1R, we demonstrate that these two metabolic receptors modulate food intake and body weight via reciprocal functional interactions. In diet-induced obese mice, the co-administration of a peripheral CB1R inhibitor with long-acting GLP-1R agonists achieves greater reduction in body weight and fat mass than monotherapies, by promoting negative energy balance. This co-treatment also results in larger improvements in systemic and hepatic insulin action, systemic dyslipidemia, and reduction of hepatic steatosis. Thus, peripheral CB1R blockade may allow safely potentiating the anti-obesity and anti-diabetic effects of currently available GLP-1R agonists.

30/09/2020 | Curr Biol   IF 9.6
A Novel Cortical Mechanism for Top-Down Control of Water Intake.
Zhao Z, Soria-Gomez E, Varilh M, Covelo A, Julio-Kalajzic F, Cannich A, Castiglione A, Vanhoutte L, Duveau A, Zizzari P, Beyeler A, Cota D, Bellocchio L, Busquets-Garcia A, Marsicano G

Water intake is crucial for maintaining body fluid homeostasis and animals' survival [1-4]. In the brain, complex processes trigger thirst and drinking behavior [1-5]. The anterior wall of the third ventricle formed by the subfornical organ (SFO), the median preoptic nucleus, and the organum vasculosum of the lamina terminalis (OVLT) constitute the primary structures sensing thirst signals and modulating water intake [6-10]. These subcortical regions are connected with the neocortex [11]. In particular, insular and anterior cingulate cortices (IC and ACC, respectively) have been shown to receive indirect innervations from the SFO and OVLT in rats [11] and to be involved in the control of water intake [12-15]. Type-1 cannabinoid receptors (CB1) modulate consummatory behaviors, such as feeding [16-26]. However, the role of CB1 receptors in the control of water intake is still a matter of debate [27-31]. Here, we show that endogenous activation of CB1 in cortical glutamatergic neurons of the ACC promotes water intake. Notably, presynaptic CB1 receptors of ACC glutamatergic neurons are abundantly located in the basolateral amygdala (BLA), a key area in the regulation of water intake. The selective expression of CB1 receptors in the ACC-to-BLA-projecting neurons is sufficient to stimulate drinking behavior. Moreover, chemogenetic stimulation of these projecting neurons suppresses drinking behavior, further supporting the role of this neuronal population in the control of water intake. Altogether, these data reveal a novel cortico-amygdalar mechanism involved in the regulation of drinking behavior.

09/06/2020 | Neuroendocrinology   IF 4.3
Calcitonin gene-related peptide-induced phosphorylation of STAT3 in arcuate neurons is a link in the metabolic benefits of portal glucose.
Soty M, Vily-Petit J, Castellanos-Jankiewicz A, Guzman-Quevedo O, Raffin M, Clark S, Silva M, Gautier-Stein A, Cota D, Mithieux G

INTRODUCTION: Intestinal gluconeogenesis exerts metabolic benefits in energy homeostasis via the neural sensing of portal glucose. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this work was to determine central mechanisms involved in the effects of intestinal gluconeogenesis (IGN) on the control of energy homeostasis. METHODS: We investigated the effects of glucose infusion into the portal vein, at a rate that mimics IGN, in conscious wild-type, leptin-deficient ob/ob and CGRP-/- mice. RESULTS: We report that portal glucose infusion decreases food intake and plasma glucose and induces in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus (ARC) the phosphorylation of STAT3, the classic intracellular messenger of leptin signaling. This notably takes place in POMC-expressing neurons. STAT3-phosphorylation does not require leptin, since portal glucose effects are observed in leptin-deficient (ob/ob) mice. We hypothesized that the portal glucose effects could require calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a neuromediator previously suggested to suppress hunger. In line with this hypothesis, neither the metabolic benefits nor the phosphorylation of STAT3 in the ARC take place upon portal glucose infusion in CGRP-deficient mice. Moreover, intracerebroventricular injection of CGRP activates hypothalamic phosphorylation of STAT3 in mice, and CGRP does the same in hypothalamic cells. Finally, no metabolic benefit of dietary fibers (known to depend on the induction of IGN), takes place in CGRP deficient mice. CONCLUSIONS: CGRP-induced phosphorylation of STAT3 in the ARC is part of the neural chain determining the hunger-modulating and glucose-lowering effects of IGN/portal glucose. CONCLUSIONS: CGRP-induced phosphorylation of STAT3 in the ARC is part of the neural chain determining the hunger-modulating and glucose-lowering effects of IGN/portal glucose.

22/05/2020 | Nutrients   IF 4.5
Effects of a High-Protein Diet on Cardiometabolic Health, Vascular Function, and Endocannabinoids-A PREVIEW Study.
Tischmann L, Drummen M, Joris PJ, Gatta-Cherifi B, Raben A, Fogelholm M, Matias I, Cota D, Mensink RP, Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Adam TC

An unfavorable lipid profile and being overweight are known mediators in the development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. The effect of diet, particularly high in protein, remains under discussion. Therefore, this study examines the effects of a high-protein (HP) diet on cardiometabolic health and vascular function (i.e., endothelial function, arterial stiffness, and retinal microvascular structure), and the possible association with plasma endocannabinoids and endocannabinoid-related compounds in overweight participants. Thirty-eight participants (64.5 +/- 5.9 (mean +/- SD) years; body mass index (BMI) 28.9 +/- 4.0 kg/m(2)) were measured for 48 h in a respiration chamber after body-weight maintenance for approximately 34 months following weight reduction. Diets with either a HP (n = 20) or moderate protein (MP; n = 18) content (25%/45%/30% vs. 15%/55%/30% protein/carbohydrate/fat) were provided in energy balance. Validated markers for cardiometabolic health (i.e., office blood pressure (BP) and serum lipoprotein concentrations) and vascular function (i.e., brachial artery flow-mediated vasodilation, pulse wave analysis and velocity, and retinal microvascular calibers) were measured before and after those 48 h. Additionally, 24 h ambulatory BP, plasma anandamide (AEA), 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG), oleoylethanolamide (OEA), palmitoylethanolamide (PEA), and pregnenolone (PREG) were analyzed throughout the day. Office and ambulatory BP, serum lipoprotein concentrations, and vascular function markers were not different between the groups. Only heart rate (HR) was higher in the HP group. HR was positively associated with OEA, while OEA and PEA were also positively associated with total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentrations. Vascular function markers were not associated with endocannabinoids (or endocannabinoid-related substances). In conclusion, the HP diet did not affect cardiometabolic health and vascular function in overweight participants after completing a weight-loss intervention. Furthermore, our data indicate a possible association between OEA and PEA with TC and LDL cholesterol.

25/04/2020 | J Clin Endocrinol Metab   IF 5.4
Role of endocannabinoids in energy balance regulation in participants in the post-obese state - a PREVIEW study.
Drummen M, Tischmann L, Gatta-Cherifi B, Cota D, Matias I, Raben A, Adam T, Westerterp-Plantenga M

CONTEXT: Endocannabinoids are suggested to play a role in energy balance regulation. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to investigate associations of endocannabinoid concentrations during the day with energy balance and adiposity and interactions with 2 diets differing in protein content in participants in the post-obese phase with pre-diabetes. DESIGN AND PARTICIPANTS: Participants (n=38) were individually fed in energy balance with a medium protein (MP: 15:55:30% of energy from Protein:Carbohydrate:Fat) or high protein diet (HP: 25:45:30% energy from P:C:F) for 48-hours in a respiration chamber. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Associations between energy balance, energy expenditure, RQ and endocannabinoid concentrations during the day were assessed. RESULTS: Plasma-concentrations of anandamide (AEA), oleoylethanolamide (OEA), palmitoyethanolamide (PEA), and pregnenolone (PREG) significantly decreased during the day. This decrease was inversely related to BMI (AEA) or body-fat (%) (PEA; OEA). The lowest RQ value, before lunch, was inversely associated with concentrations of AEA and PEA before lunch. AUC of concentrations of AEA, 2-AG, PEA, and OEA were positively related to body-fat% (p<0.05). The HP and MP groups showed no differences in concentrations of AEA, OEA, PEA, and PREG, but the AUC of 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) was significantly higher in the HP vs. the MP group. CONCLUSIONS: In energy balance, only the endocannabinoid 2-AG changed in relation to protein level of the diet, while the endocannabinoid AEA, and endocannabinoid-related compounds OEA and PEA reflected the gradual energy intake matching energy expenditure over the day.

21/04/2020 | Int J Obes (Lond)   IF 4.4
Anti-obesity therapy with peripheral CB1 blockers: from promise to safe(?) practice.
Quarta C, Cota D

Pharmacological blockers of the cannabinoid receptor type-1 (CB1) have been considered for a long time as the holy grail of obesity pharmacotherapy. These agents were hastily released in the clinical setting, due to their clear-cut therapeutic efficacy. However, the first generation of these drugs, which were able to target both the brain and peripheral tissues, had serious neuropsychiatric effects, leading authorities to ban their clinical use. New peripherally restricted CB1 blockers, characterized by low brain penetrance, have been developed over the past 10 years. In preclinical studies, these molecules seem to overcome the neuropsychiatric negative effects previously observed with brain-penetrant CB1 inhibitors, while retaining or even outperforming their efficacy. The mechanisms of action of these peripherally restricted compounds are only beginning to emerge, and a balanced discussion of the risk/benefits ratio associated to their possible clinical use is urgently needed, in order to avoid repeating past mistakes. Here, we will critically discuss the advantages and the possible hidden threats associated with the use of peripheral CB1 blockers for the pharmacotherapy of obesity and its associated metabolic complications. We will address whether this novel pharmacological approach might 'compete' with current pharmacotherapies for obesity and diabetes, while also conceptualizing future CB1-based pharmacological trends that may significantly lower the risk/benefits ratio associated with the use of these drugs.

02/11/2019 | Neuroscience   IF 3.2
POMC Neurons Dysfunction in Diet-induced Metabolic Disease: Hallmark or Mechanism of Disease?
Quarta C, Fioramonti X, Cota D

One important lesson from the last decade of studies in the field of systemic energy metabolism is that obesity is first and foremost a brain disease. Hypothalamic neurons dysfunction observed in response to chronic metabolic stress is a key pathogenic node linking consumption of hypercaloric diets with body weight gain and associated metabolic sequelae. A key hypothalamic neuronal population expressing the neuropeptide Pro-opio-melanocortin (POMC) displays altered electrical activity and dysregulated neuropeptides production capacity after long-term feeding with hypercaloric diets. However, whether such neuronal dysfunction represents a consequence or a mechanism of disease, remains a subject of debate. Here, we will review and highlight emerging pathogenic mechanisms that explain why POMC neurons undergo dysfunctional activity in response to caloric overload, and critically address whether these mechanisms may be causally implicated in the physiopathology of obesity and of its associated co-morbidities.

21/09/2019 | Nutrients   IF 4.2
Effects of a High-Protein/Moderate-Carbohydrate Diet on Appetite, Gut Peptides, and Endocannabinoids-A Preview Study.
Tischmann L, Drummen M, Gatta-Cherifi B, Raben A, Fogelholm M, Hartmann B, Holst JJ, Matias I, Cota D, Mensink RP, Joris PJ, Westerterp-Plantenga MS, Adam TC

Favorable effects of a high-protein/moderate-carbohydrate (HP/MCHO) diet after weight loss on body weight management have been shown. To extend these findings, associations between perception of hunger and satiety with endocannabinoids, and with glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and polypeptide YY (PYY) were assessed. At approximately 34 months after weight loss, 22 female and 16 male participants (mean age 64.5 +/- 5.9 years; body mass index (BMI) 28.9 +/- 3.9 kg/m(2)) completed a 48 h respiration chamber study. Participants were fed in energy balance with a HP/MCHO diet with 25%:45%:30% or a moderate-protein/high-carbohydrate (MP/HCHO) diet with 15%:55%:30% of energy from protein:carbohydrate:fat. Endocannabinoids and related compounds, relevant postprandial hormones (GLP-1, PYY), hunger, satiety, and ad libitum food intake were assessed. HP/MCHO versus MP/HCHO reduced hunger perception. The lower decremental area under the curve (dAUC) for hunger in the HP/MCHO diet (-56.6% compared to MP, p < 0.05) was associated with the higher AUC for 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) concentrations (p < 0.05). Hunger was inversely associated with PYY in the HP/MCHO group (r = -0.7, p < 0.01). Ad libitum food intake, homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and incremental AUCs for gut peptides were not different between conditions. HP/MCHO versus MP/HCHO diet-induced reduction in hunger was present after 34 months weight maintenance in the post-obese state. HP/MCHO diet-induced decrease of hunger is suggested to interact with increased 2-AG and PYY concentrations.

OBJECTIVE: The hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) is a key target of the melanocortin system, which orchestrates behavioral and metabolic responses depending on energy availability. The mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) and the endocannabinoid type 1 receptor (CB1R) pathways are two key signaling systems involved in the regulation of energy balance whose activity closely depends upon energy availability. Here we tested the hypothesis that modulation of mTORC1 and CB1R signaling regulates excitatory glutamatergic inputs onto the PVN. METHODS: Patch-clamp recordings in C57BL/6J mice, in mice lacking the mTORC1 component Rptor or CB1R in pro-opio-melanocortin (POMC) neurons, combined with pharmacology targeting mTORC1, the melanocortin receptor type 4 (MC4R), or the endocannabinoid system under chow or a hypercaloric diet. RESULTS: Acute pharmacological inhibition of mTORC1 in C57BL/6J mice decreased glutamatergic inputs onto the PVN via a mechanism requiring modulation of MC4R, endocannabinoid 2-AG mobilization by PVN parvocellular neurons, and retrograde activation of presynaptic CB1R. Further electrophysiology studies using mice lacking mTORC1 activity or CB1R in POMC neurons indicated that the observed effects involved mTORC1 and CB1R-dependent regulation of glutamate release from POMC neurons. Finally, energy surfeit caused by hypercaloric high-fat diet feeding, rapidly and time-dependently altered the glutamatergic inputs onto parvocellular neurons and the ability of mTORC1 and CB1R signaling to modulate such excitatory activity. CONCLUSIONS: These findings pinpoint the relationship between mTORC1 and endocannabinoid-CB1R signaling in the regulation of the POMC-mediated glutamatergic inputs onto PVN parvocellular neurons and its rapid alteration in conditions favoring the development of obesity.