Overweight and obesity is a growing global health concern. Current management of obesity includes lifestyle intervention, bariatric surgery and medication. The serotonin receptor, 5-HT2C, is known to mediate satiety, appetite and consumption behaviour. Lorcaserin, an appetite control drug, has demonstrated efficacy in appetite control by targeting 5-HT2C but causes undesirable side effects. This study aimed to explore the potential usage of Cassiae semen (CS), a well-known traditional Chinese medicine used to treat obesity. A computational molecular docking study was performed to determine the binding mechanism of CS compounds to the 5-HT2C receptors in both active, agonist-bound and inactive, antagonist-bound conformations. By comparing binding poses and predicted relative binding affinities towards the active or inactive forms of the receptor, we hypothesise that two of the CS compounds studied may be potent agonists which may mimic the appetite suppression effects of lorcaserin: obtusifoliol and cassiaside B2. Furthermore, two ligands, beta-sitosterol and juglanin, were predicted to bind favourably to 5-HT2C outside of the known agonist binding pocket in the active receptor, suggesting that such ligands may serve as positive allosteric modulators of 5-HT2C receptor function. Overall, this study proposed several CS compounds which may be responsible for exerting anti-obesity effects via appetite suppression by 5-HT2C receptor activation.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited