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

Melanocortins and feeding behavior.

The melanocortin ( ACTH/MSH) peptides exert a number of central effects. In the eighties, we described for the first time a role for melanocortins in the central control of appetite. We showed that the injection of ACTH-(1-24) into a brain lateral ventricle reduced food intake up to 76.6% in starved rats. Injections into the ventromedial hypothalamus during the nocturnal feeding phase also markedly inhibited food intake. These effects were also confirmed in mice and rabbits. Targeted disruption of the MC4 receptor resulting in obesity in mice explained the role of this receptor in mediating effects of melanocortins on food intake. Administration of MC4 receptor agonists leads to acute reduction in food intake and body weight, while the reverse effects are observed after administration of selective MC4 receptor antagonists, confirming the role of the melanocortins in mediating a tonic inhibition on feeding behavior. Moreover, immobilization stress-induced anorexia may be partially reversed by single and repeated intracerebroventricular administration of selective MC4 receptor antagonists. It is thus evident that MC4 receptor blockage can reduce stress-induced anorexia and that repeated injections of selective MC4 receptor antagonists have a sustained effect on food intake without any sign of tachyphylaxis. However, we have also shown that the behavioral effects of CRF (anorexia and grooming) are not influenced by MC4 receptor blockage. These effects of CRF are thus not due to an indirect mechanism caused by an increased release of melanocortins acting on the central MC receptors.[1]


  1. Melanocortins and feeding behavior. Vergoni, A.V., Schiöth, H.B., Bertolini, A. Biomed. Pharmacother. (2000) [Pubmed]
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