Clinical and Functional Relevance of Melanocortin-4 Receptor Variants in Obese German Children
ABSTRACT Background: Variants in the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) gene are the most frequent cause of monogenic obesity. The relevance of MC4R variations with respect to clinical phenotype and biochemical function remains controversial. Methods: We sequenced the MC4R gene in 510 overweight/obese children. The clinical phenotype was assessed in a case-control setting matched for age, gender, puberty and body mass index. Identified MC4R variants were functionally characterized in vitro. Results: The frequency of MC4R variants was 5.3%, with functionally relevant mutations (D(90)N, V(103)I/S(127)L, R(165)W, G(181)D) occurring in 1.2% (confidence interval 0.26-2.15) of our sample. 4.1% were carriers of variants (Y(35)Y, V(103)I, T(112)M, M(200)V, I(251)L) with preserved receptor function in vitro. We did not detect large heterozygous deletions by multiple-ligand probe amplification assay. There were no differences in anthropometric or metabolic parameters between children with loss-of-function mutations and noncarriers. Carriers of the V(103)I or I(251)L variant had higher high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and HbA1c levels than matched noncarriers of MC4R variants. Conclusions: In our data set of childhood obesity in central Germany, we identified functionally relevant mutations in the MC4R gene in only 1.2% of the children. There were no major significant phenotypic differences between obese children with and without MC4R mutations. Hence, the diagnosis of genetically caused obesity due to MC4R mutation should be made with caution.
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ABSTRACT: Obesity, a multifactorial disease caused by the interaction of genetic factors with the environment, is largely polygenic. A few mutations in these genes, such as in the leptin receptor (LEPR) gene and melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) gene, have been identified as causes of monogenic obesity. We sequenced the complete MC4R coding region, the region of the proopiomelanocortin gene (POMC) encoding the alpha melanocyte-stimulating hormone, and the leptin-binding domain of LEPR in 469 severely obese white subjects (370 women and 99 men; mean [+/-SE] age, 41.0+/-0.5 years; body-mass index [the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters], 44.1+/-2.0). Fifteen women and 10 men without a history of dieting or a family history of obesity served as normal-weight controls (age, 47.7+/-2.0 years; body-mass index, 21.6+/-0.4). Detailed phenotypic data, including information on body fat, resting energy expenditure, diet-induced thermogenesis, serum concentrations of leptin, and eating behavior, were collected. Twenty-four obese subjects (5.1 percent) and one control subject (4 percent) had MC4R mutations, including five novel variants. Twenty of the 24 obese subjects with an MC4R mutation were matched for age, sex, and body-mass index with 120 of the 445 obese subjects without an MC4R mutation. All mutation carriers reported binge eating, as compared with 14.2 percent of obese subjects without mutations (P<0.001) and 0 percent of the normal-weight subjects without mutations. The prevalence of binge eating was similar among carriers of mutations in the leptin-binding domain of LEPR and noncarriers. No mutations were found in the region of POMC encoding alpha melanocyte-stimulating hormone. Binge eating is a major phenotypic characteristic of subjects with a mutation in MC4R, a candidate gene for the control of eating behavior.New England Journal of Medicine 03/2003; 348(12):1096-103. DOI:10.1056/NEJMoa021971 · 54.42 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Mutations in the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) gene are the most frequent monogenic causes of severe obesity. Most mutations have been described as heterozygous with loss of function, suggesting that haploinsufficiency is the most likely mechanism of dominant inheritance. We detected a heterozygous mutation, D90N, in a patient with severe early-onset obesity. Functional characterization of the mutant receptor revealed normal cell-surface expression and binding properties but loss of signal transduction activity. In coexpression studies of wild-type (WT)-MC4R and D90N, the mutant receptor had a dominant-negative effect on WT-receptor function. Further investigation of this effect with sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays and fluorescence resonance energy transfer studies showed that the WT-MC4R and the D90N mutant form homodimers and heterodimers. We hypothesize that the dominant-negative effect of the D90N mutation is caused by a functionally altered WT-MC4R/D90N receptor heterodimer. These findings necessitate the reinvestigation of other heterozygous MC4R missense mutations to discriminate between haploinsufficiency and a dominant-negative effect. The finding of receptor dimerization highlights a more complex hypothalamic signaling network governing the regulation of body weight.Diabetes 01/2004; 52(12):2984-8. DOI:10.2337/diabetes.52.12.2984 · 8.47 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Melanocortin 4 receptor (MC4R) deficiency is the commonest monogenic form of obesity. However, the clinical spectrum and mode of inheritance have not been defined, pathophysiological mechanisms leading to obesity are poorly understood, and there is little information regarding genotype-phenotype correlations. We determined the nucleotide sequence of the MC4R gene in 500 probands with severe childhood obesity. Family studies were undertaken to examine cosegregation of identified mutations with obesity. Subjects with MC4R deficiency underwent metabolic and endocrine evaluation; the results were correlated with the signaling properties of mutant receptors. Twenty-nine probands (5.8 percent) had mutations in MC4R; 23 were heterozygous, and 6 were homozygous. Mutation carriers had severe obesity, increased lean mass, increased linear growth, hyperphagia, and severe hyperinsulinemia; homozygotes were more severely affected than heterozygotes. Subjects with mutations retaining residual signaling capacity had a less severe phenotype. Mutations in MC4R result in a distinct obesity syndrome that is inherited in a codominant manner. Mutations leading to complete loss of function are associated with a more severe phenotype. The correlation between the signaling properties of these mutant receptors and energy intake emphasizes the key role of this receptor in the control of eating behavior in humans.New England Journal of Medicine 04/2003; 348(12):1085-95. DOI:10.1056/NEJMoa022050 · 54.42 Impact Factor