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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2004 Feb;89(2):940-5.

Identification and characterization of melanocortin-4 receptor gene mutations in morbidly obese finnish children and adults.

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Department of Medicine and Research Program in Molecular Medicine, University of Helsinki, FIN-00290 Helsinki, Finland.


Two Finnish cohorts, comprising 56 children with severe early-onset obesity (relative weight for height greater than or equal to +70% before age 10) and 252 morbidly obese adults (body mass index, > or = 40 kg/m(2)), were screened for melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) mutations. We identified a pathogenic mutation (S127L) in one child, causing severe early-onset obesity. We describe the phenotype of this particular mutation for the first time. We also identified a novel (I226T) polymorphism in the coding and two new variations (-439delGC and 1059C>T) outside the coding region of the MC4R gene. Three previously described polymorphisms (V103I, T112M, and I125L) were identified. In vitro functional studies of variants T112M, S127L, and I226T supported a pathogenic role of the S127L mutation, because signaling properties of the receptor in response to the MC4R agonists alpha-MSH, beta-MSH, and gamma(1)-MSH were impaired. The S127L mutation did not affect receptor inhibition by the antagonist agouti-related protein. Localization of the three variant receptors was similar to that of wild type. In conclusion, a pathogenic MC4R mutation was found among subjects with severe early-onset obesity but not among morbidly obese adults. Impaired function of the S127L receptor was due to reduced activation, not a defect of protein transport to the cell membrane.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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