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Int J Obes (Lond). 2013 Aug;37(8):1027-35. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2012.169. Epub 2012 Nov 13.

Eating behaviour in obese patients with melanocortin-4 receptor mutations: a literature review.

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  • 1Nutritional Epidemiology Research Unit-UMR U557 INSERM, Paris 13 University, CRNH-IdF, Bobigny, France.


Melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) mutations are the most common known cause of monogenic obesity and an important contributor to polygenic obesity. MC4R mutations with partial or total loss of function, as well as the variant rs17782313 mapped near MC4R, are positively associated with obesity. MC4R is involved in the leptin-melanocortin signalling system, located in hypothalamic nuclei, that controls food intake via both anorexigenic or orexigenic signals. Impairment in this receptor might affect eating behaviours. Thus, in the case of MC4R mutation carriers, obesity could be related, at least partly, to inadequate control over eating behaviours. Many published studies address eating behaviours in MC4R mutation carriers. Most studies focus on binge eating disorder, whereas others examine various aspects of intake and motivation. Up to now, no evaluation of this literature has been performed. In this review, we examine the available literature on eating behaviours in carriers of MC4R mutations and variant rs17782313 near MC4R gene. We address binge eating disorder, bulimia nervosa, mealtime hyperphagia, snacking, psychological factors, satiety responsiveness and intake of energy and macro/micronutrient. In a small number of studies, MC4R mutations seem to impair eating behaviours or motivation, but no clear causal effects can be found in the balance of the evidence presented. Improvements in methodologies will be necessary to clarify the behavioural effects of MC4R mutations.

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