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Endocrinology. 2014 Jan;155(1):81-8. doi: 10.1210/en.2013-1738. Epub 2013 Dec 20.

Expression of melanin-concentrating hormone receptor 2 protects against diet-induced obesity in male mice.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02215.


Melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) is an orexigenic neuropeptide that is a ligand for two subtypes of MCH receptors, MCHR1 and MCHR2. MCHR1 is universally expressed in mammals ranging from rodents to humans, but the expression of MCHR2 is substantially restricted. In mammals, MCHR2 has been defined in primates as well as other species such as cats and dogs but is not seen in rodents. Although the role of MCHR1 in mediating the actions of MCH on energy balance is clearly defined using mouse models, the role of MCHR2 is harder to characterize because of its limited expression. To determine any potential role of MCHR2 in energy balance, we generated a transgenic MCHR1R2 mouse model, where human MCHR2 is coexpressed in MCHR1-expressing neurons. As shown previously, control wild-type mice expressing only native MCHR1 developed diet-induced obesity when fed a high-fat diet. In contrast, MCHR1R2 mice had lower food intake, leading to their resistance to diet-induced obesity. Furthermore, we showed that MCH action is altered in MCHR1R2 mice. MCH treatment in wild-type mice inhibited the activation of the immediate-early gene c-fos, and coexpression of MCHR2 reduced the inhibitory actions of MCHR1 on this pathway. In conclusion, we developed an experimental animal model that can provide insight into the action of MCHR2 in the central nervous system and suggest that some actions of MCHR2 oppose the endogenous actions of MCHR1.

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