Neurocentre Magendie

Daniela COTA


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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)

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

Since January 2008: CR1 INSERM and Avenir Group Leader, Avenir Group: “Régulation de l'équilibre énergétique et obésité” (physiopathology of energy balance and obesity), NeuroCentre Magendie, Bordeaux, France
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


61 publication(s) depuis Juin 2000:

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* equal contribution
Les IF indiqués ont été collectés par le Web of Sciences en

21/09/2006 | Neuron   IF 14
Leptin in energy balance and reward: two faces of the same coin'
Cota D, Barrera J G, Seeley R J

Leptin receptors are expressed on mesolimbic dopamine neurons, yet little is known about the functional significance of this anatomical relationship. In this issue of Neuron, Hommel et al. reveal a novel site for leptin's regulation of feeding. In turn, Fulton et al. propose a novel role for leptin in regulating non-feeding-related motivated behaviors.

06/2006 | Brain Res Rev   IF 2.7
Cannabinoids, opioids and eating behavior: the molecular face of hedonism'
Cota D, Tschop M H, Horvath T L, Levine A S

Obesity represents nowadays one of the most devastating health threats. Published reports even project a decline in life expectancy of US citizens due to the rapidly increasing prevalence of obesity. This alarming increase is intimately linked with recent changes of environment and lifestyle in western countries. In this context, the rewarding or even addictive properties of popular food may represent one of the most serious obstacles to overcome for an effective anti-obesity therapy. Therefore, in addition to molecular networks controlling energy homeostasis, now researchers are starting to define central nervous mechanisms governing hedonic and addictive components of food intake. A recently emerging body of data suggests that the endogenous cannabinoid and opioid systems both represent key circuits responding to the rewarding value of food. This review focuses on the role of these two systems for the homeostatic and hedonic aspects of eating behavior and includes their anatomical and functional interactions. Independent from the degree to which eating can be considered an addiction, cannabinoid and opioid receptor antagonists are promising anti-obesity drugs, since they are targeting both hedonic and homeostatic components of energy balance control.

12/05/2006 | Science   IF 37.2
Hypothalamic mTOR signaling regulates food intake
Cota D, Proulx K, Smith K A, Kozma S C, Thomas G, Woods S C, Seeley R J

The mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) protein is a serine-threonine kinase that regulates cell-cycle progression and growth by sensing changes in energy status. We demonstrated that mTOR signaling plays a role in the brain mechanisms that respond to nutrient availability, regulating energy balance. In the rat, mTOR signaling is controlled by energy status in specific regions of the hypothalamus and colocalizes with neuropeptide Y and proopiomelanocortin neurons in the arcuate nucleus. Central administration of leucine increases hypothalamic mTOR signaling and decreases food intake and body weight. The hormone leptin increases hypothalamic mTOR activity, and the inhibition of mTOR signaling blunts leptin's anorectic effect. Thus, mTOR is a cellular fuel sensor whose hypothalamic activity is directly tied to the regulation of energy intake.

02/2006 | Endocr Rev   IF 15.7
The emerging role of the endocannabinoid system in endocrine regulation and energy balance
Pagotto U, Marsicano G, Cota D, Lutz B, Pasquali R

During the last few years, the endocannabinoid system has emerged as a highly relevant topic in the scientific community. Many different regulatory actions have been attributed to endocannabinoids, and their involvement in several pathophysiological conditions is under intense scrutiny. Cannabinoid receptors, named CB1 receptor and CB2 receptor, first discovered as the molecular targets of the psychotropic component of the plant Cannabis sativa, participate in the physiological modulation of many central and peripheral functions. CB2 receptor is mainly expressed in immune cells, whereas CB1 receptor is the most abundant G protein-coupled receptor expressed in the brain. CB1 receptor is expressed in the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland, and its activation is known to modulate all the endocrine hypothalamic-peripheral endocrine axes. An increasing amount of data highlights the role of the system in the stress response by influencing the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and in the control of reproduction by modifying gonadotropin release, fertility, and sexual behavior. The ability of the endocannabinoid system to control appetite, food intake, and energy balance has recently received great attention, particularly in the light of the different modes of action underlying these functions. The endocannabinoid system modulates rewarding properties of food by acting at specific mesolimbic areas in the brain. In the hypothalamus, CB1 receptor and endocannabinoids are integrated components of the networks controlling appetite and food intake. Interestingly, the endocannabinoid system was recently shown to control metabolic functions by acting on peripheral tissues, such as adipocytes, hepatocytes, the gastrointestinal tract, and, possibly, skeletal muscle. The relevance of the system is further strenghtened by the notion that drugs interfering with the activity of the endocannabinoid system are considered as promising candidates for the treatment of various diseases, including obesity.

09/2005 | Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol   IF 3
Mechanisms of oleoylethanolamide-induced changes in feeding behavior and motor activity
Proulx K, Cota D, Castaneda T R, Tschop M H, D'Alessio D A, Tso P, Woods S C, Seeley R J

Oleoylethanolamide (OEA), a lipid synthesized in the intestine, reduces food intake and stimulates lipolysis through peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha. OEA also activates transient receptor potential vanilloid type 1 (TRPV1) in vitro. Because the anorexigenic effect of OEA is associated with delayed feeding onset and reduced locomotion, we examined whether intraperitoneal administration of OEA results in nonspecific behavioral effects that contribute to the anorexia in rats. Moreover, we determined whether circulating levels of other gut hormones are modulated by OEA and whether CCK is involved in OEA-induced anorexia. Our results indicate that OEA reduces food intake without causing a conditioned taste aversion or reducing sodium appetite. It also failed to induce a conditioned place aversion. However, OEA induced changes in posture and reduced spontaneous activity in the open field. This likely underlies the reduced heat expenditure and sodium consumption observed after OEA injection, which disappeared within 1 h. The effects of OEA on motor activity were similar to those of the TRPV1 agonist capsaicin and were also observed with the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha agonist Wy-14643. Plasma levels of ghrelin, peptide YY, glucagon-like peptide 1, and apolipoprotein A-IV were not changed by OEA. Finally, antagonism of CCK-1 receptors did not affect OEA-induced anorexia. These results suggest that OEA suppresses feeding without causing visceral illness and that neither ghrelin, peptide YY, glucagon-like peptide 1, apolipoprotein A-IV, nor CCK plays a critical role in this effect. Despite that OEA-induced anorexia is unlikely to be due to impaired motor activity, our data raise a cautionary note in how specific behavioral and metabolic effects of OEA should be interpreted.

10/2003 | J Endocrinol Invest   IF 2.6
Antagonizing the cannabinoid receptor type 1: a dual way to fight obesity.
Cota D, Genghini S, Pasquali R, Pagotto U


08/2003 | J Clin Invest   IF 12.8
The endogenous cannabinoid system affects energy balance via central orexigenic drive and peripheral lipogenesis.
Cota D, Marsicano G, Tschop M, Grubler Y, Flachskamm C, Schubert M, Auer D, Yassouridis A, Thone-Reineke C, Ortmann S, Tomassoni F, Cervino C, Nisoli E, Linthorst AC, Pasquali R, Lutz B, Stalla GK, Pagotto U

The cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1) and its endogenous ligands, the endocannabinoids, are involved in the regulation of food intake. Here we show that the lack of CB1 in mice with a disrupted CB1 gene causes hypophagia and leanness. As compared with WT (CB1+/+) littermates, mice lacking CB1 (CB1-/-) exhibited reduced spontaneous caloric intake and, as a consequence of reduced total fat mass, decreased body weight. In young CB1-/- mice, the lean phenotype is predominantly caused by decreased caloric intake, whereas in adult CB1-/- mice, metabolic factors appear to contribute to the lean phenotype. No significant differences between genotypes were detected regarding locomotor activity, body temperature, or energy expenditure. Hypothalamic CB1 mRNA was found to be coexpressed with neuropeptides known to modulate food intake, such as corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH), cocaine-amphetamine-regulated transcript (CART), melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH), and preproorexin, indicating a possible role for endocannabinoid receptors within central networks governing appetite. CB1-/- mice showed significantly increased CRH mRNA levels in the paraventricular nucleus and reduced CART mRNA levels in the dorsomedial and lateral hypothalamic areas. CB1 was also detected in epidydimal mouse adipocytes, and CB1-specific activation enhanced lipogenesis in primary adipocyte cultures. Our results indicate that the cannabinoid system is an essential endogenous regulator of energy homeostasis via central orexigenic as well as peripheral lipogenic mechanisms and might therefore represent a promising target to treat diseases characterized by impaired energy balance.

03/2003 | Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord
Endogenous cannabinoid system as a modulator of food intake.
Cota D, Marsicano G, Lutz B, Vicennati V, Stalla GK, Pasquali R, Pagotto U

The ability of Cannabis sativa (marijuana) to increase hunger has been noticed for centuries, although intensive research on its molecular mode of action started only after the characterization of its main psychoactive component Delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol in the late 1960s. Despite the public concern related to the abuse of marijuana and its derivatives, scientific studies have pointed to the therapeutic potentials of cannabinoid compounds and have highlighted their ability to stimulate appetite, especially for sweet and palatable food. Later, the discovery of specific receptors and their endogenous ligands (endocannabinoids) suggested the existence of an endogenous cannabinoid system, providing a physiological basis for biological effects induced by marijuana and other cannabinoids. Epidemiological reports describing the appetite-stimulating properties of cannabinoids and the recent insights into the molecular mechanisms underlying cannabinoid action have proposed a central role of the cannabinoid system in obesity. The aim of this review is to provide an extensive overview on the role of this neuromodulatory system in feeding behavior by summarizing the most relevant data obtained from human and animal studies and by elucidating the interactions of the cannabinoid system with the most important neuronal networks and metabolic pathways involved in the control of food intake. Finally, a critical evaluation of future potential therapeutical applications of cannabinoid antagonists in the therapy of obesity and eating disorders will be discussed.

12/2001 | Eat Weight Disord-st   IF 1.8
Relationship between socio-economic and cultural status, psychological factors and body fat distribution in middle-aged women living in Northern Italy.
Cota D, Vicennati V, Ceroni L, Morselli-Labate AM, Pasquali R.


11/2000 | Recenti Prog Med   IF 0.3
[Steroid therapy and adrenal function].
Cota D, Ceroni L, Pasquali R

Glucocorticoids are frequently used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Their action mimics endogenous glucocorticoid actions by altering the activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Therefore, they can be responsible for iatrogenic diseases, particularly if used at high doses and for a long time. The aim of this brief review is to show the main pharmacological characteristics and the endocrine effects of glucocorticoids. The HPA axis insufficiency, related to acute glucocorticoid withdrawal, is also discussed.