Brain serotonin and leptin signaling contribute substantially to the regulation of feeding and energy expenditure. Here we show that young adult mice with a targeted mutation of the serotonin 5-HT(2C) receptor gene consume more food despite normal responses to exogenous leptin administration. Chronic hyperphagia leads to a 'middle-aged'-onset obesity associated with a partial leptin resistance of late onset. In addition, older mice develop insulin resistance and impaired glucose tolerance. Mutant mice also responded more to high-fat feeding, leading to hyperglycemia without hyperlipidemia. These findings demonstrate a dissociation of serotonin and leptin signaling in the regulation of feeding and indicate that a perturbation of brain serotonin systems can predispose to type 2 diabetes.