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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Changes in hypothalamic agouti-related protein (AGRP), but not alpha-MSH or pro-opiomelanocortin concentrations in dietary-obese and food-restricted rats.

Melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4-R) density is thought to be regulated by synaptic availability of endogenous agonist, alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH), and also by agouti-related protein (AGRP), which acts as a competitive antagonist. As hypothalamic MC4-R have been implicated in the regulation of energy balance, we examined concentrations of alpha-MSH and AGRP in hypothalami of dietary-obese and food-restricted rats. In dietary-obese rats, AGRP concentrations were significantly increased by 43% (p < 0.01) above lean controls, whereas a 91% (p < 0.01) reduction was observed in food-restricted rats. Surprisingly, hypothalamic concentrations of alpha-MSH and its precursor peptide, pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC), did not differ significantly from controls in either model. In conclusion, we suggest that MC4-R activity may not be regulated by changes in agonist (alpha-MSH) but by changes in the antagonist (AGRP) availability, which may modulate background activation of the receptor by tonic alpha-MSH release. AGRP may be an important modulator of feeding behaviour.[1]


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