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Regul Pept. 2003 May 15;113(1-3):85-8.

The melanocortin receptor MCR4 controls fat consumption.

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  • 1Metabolic Diseases Department, Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc, 340 Kingsland St, Nutley, NJ 07110, USA.


Melanocortins mediate the effects of leptin in the central nervous system (CNS) and regulate energy balance through the MCR3 and MCR4 receptors. Here, we examined the specific role of MCR4 in modulating fat consumption. In a three-choice feeding model, the non-selective melanocortin agonist MT-II decreased fat consumption preferentially and the effect was absent in mice deficient in MCR4. Further, an agonist selective for the MCR4 subtype [Danho W, Swistok J, Cheung A, Chu XJ, Wang Y, Chen L, et al. Highly selective cyclic peptides for the melanocortin-4 receptor: design, synthesis, bioactive conformation and pharmacological evaluation as anti-obesity agents. In: Lebl M, Houghten R, editors. Peptides: the wave of the future. Am. Peptide Soc., 2001. p. 701-703.] also decreased dietary fat intake in a MCR4-dependent manner. Thus, MCR4 activation is both necessary and sufficient for the control of dietary fat intake by melanocortin signals and may provide a pharmacological means to control the consumption of fatty foods.

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