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Cell Metab. 2006 Feb;3(2):141-6.

A role for beta-melanocyte-stimulating hormone in human body-weight regulation.

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Institute for Pediatric Endocrinology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, 13353 Berlin, Germany.


Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) expressing neurons mediate the regulation of orexigenic drive by peripheral hormones such as leptin, cholecystokinin, ghrelin, and insulin. Most research effort has focused on alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) as the predominant POMC-derived neuropeptide in the central regulation of human energy balance and body weight. Here we report a missense mutation within the coding region of the POMC-derived peptide beta-MSH (Y5C-beta-MSH) and its association with early-onset human obesity. In vitro and in vivo data as well as postmortem human brain studies indicate that the POMC-derived neuropeptide beta-MSH plays a critical role in the hypothalamic control of body weight in humans.

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