Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2012 Sep;69(9):904-12.

Association between common variants near the melanocortin 4 receptor gene and severe antipsychotic drug-induced weight gain.

Author information

Psychiatry Research, Zucker Hillside Hospital, 75-59 263rd St, Glen Oaks, NY 11004, USA.



Second-generation antipsychotics (SGAs) are increasingly used in the treatment of many psychotic and nonpsychotic disorders. Unfortunately, SGAs are often associated with substantial weight gain, with no means to predict which patients are at greatest risk.


To identify single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated with antipsychotic drug–induced weight gain.


Pharmacogenetic association study.


The discovery cohort was from a US general psychiatric hospital. Three additional cohorts were from psychiatric hospitals in the United States and Germany and from a European antipsychotic drug trial.


The discovery cohort consisted of 139 pediatric patients undergoing first exposure to SGAs. The 3 additional cohorts consisted of 73, 40, and 92 subjects.


Patients in the discovery cohort were treated with SGAs for 12 weeks. Additional cohorts were treated for 6 and 12 weeks.


We conducted a genomewide association study assessing weight gain associated with 12 weeks of SGA treatment in patients undergoing first exposure to antipsychotic drugs. We next genotyped 3 independent cohorts of subjects assessed for antipsychotic drug-induced weight gain.


Our genome-wide association study yielded 20 single-nucleotide polymorphisms at a single locus exceeding a statistical threshold of P<10(-5). This locus, near the melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) gene, overlaps a region previously identified by large-scale genome-wide association studies of obesity in the general population. Effects were recessive, with minor allele homozygotes gaining extreme amounts of weight during the 12-week trial. These results were replicated in 3 additional cohorts, with rs489693 demonstrating consistent recessive effects; meta-analysis revealed a genome-wide significant effect (P=5.59 X 10 (-12). Moreover, we observed consistent effects on related metabolic indices, including triglyceride, leptin, and insulin levels.


These data implicate MC4R in extreme SGA-induced weight gain and related metabolic disturbances. A priori identification of high-risk subjects could lead to alternative treatment strategies in this population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons


    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Silverchair Information Systems Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center