The cerebral serotonin (5-HT) system shows distinct differences in obesity compared with the lean state. Here, it was investigated whether serotonergic neurotransmission in obesity is a stable trait or changes in association with weight loss induced by Roux-in-Y gastric bypass (RYGB) surgery. In vivo cerebral 5-HT2A receptor and 5-HT transporter binding was determined by positron emission tomography in 21 obese [four men; body mass index (BMI), 40.1 ± 4.1 kg/m(2)] and 10 lean (three men; BMI, 24.6 ± 1.5 kg/m(2)) individuals. Fourteen obese individuals were re-examined after RYGB surgery. First, it was confirmed that obese individuals have higher cerebral 5-HT2A receptor binding than lean individuals. Importantly, we found that higher presurgical 5-HT2A receptor binding predicted greater weight loss after RYGB and that the change in 5-HT2A receptor and 5-HT transporter binding correlated with weight loss after RYGB. The changes in the 5-HT neurotransmission before and after RYGB are in accordance with a model wherein the cerebral extracellular 5-HT level modulates the regulation of body weight. Our findings support that the cerebral 5-HT system contributes both to establish the obese condition and to regulate the body weight in response to RYGB.