Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.


Speed-dieting: dopamine agonists promote weight loss

Dopamine is an important neurotransmitter with essential roles in movement control and salience, and implications in addiction as well as weight loss, decreased food intake and a reduced motivational drive to eat. Folgueira et al. now demonstrate that dopamine causes weight loss and increases brown adipose tissue temperature via activation of the dopamine receptor D2R in hypothalamic GABA-expressing neurons in mice, and treatment with the dopamine agonist cabergoline causes weight loss in humans.

This is a preview of subscription content

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.

Fig. 1: Schematic of the potential circuitry through which LHA/ZI D2R agonism might increase BAT temperature in an Orexin A/Orexin 1 receptor–dependent manner.


  1. Folgueira, C. et al. Nat. Metab. (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Cerri, M. & Morrison, S. F. Neuroscience 135, 627–638 (2005).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Tupone, D., Madden, C. J., Cano, G. & Morrison, S. F. J. Neurosci. 31, 15944–15955 (2011).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Martins, L. et al. Cell Rep. 16, 2231–2242 (2016).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Zhang, X. & van den Pol, A. N. Science 356, 853–859 (2017).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Davis, C. et al. Int. J. Neuropsychopharmacol. 15, 181–187 (2012).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Michael A. Cowley.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Simonds, S.E., Cowley, M.A. Speed-dieting: dopamine agonists promote weight loss. Nat Metab 1, 851–852 (2019).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing