Association between melanocortin-4 receptor mutations and eating behaviors in obese patients: a case-control study

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Melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) gene mutations are involved in the leptin-melanocortin pathways that control food intake. The effect of these mutations on eating behavior phenotypes is still debated. To determine the association between functional MC4R mutations and eating behaviors, dietary intake and physical activity, we sequenced the MC4R gene in 4653 obese adults. Among them, 19 adults carriers of functional MC4R mutation were matched on age, sex and body mass index with two randomly-paired controls without MC4R mutation (n = 57). We found that eating behaviors and physical activity did not differ between groups. In particular, cases were not at increased risk of binge eating disorders. Subjects carriers of MC4R mutation reported a higher proportion of dietary carbohydrates intakes (43.2 ± 7.1 and 39.2 ± 8.1% of total energy intake, respectively, P = 0.048) and a lower proportion of dietary lipids (34.3 ± 6.7 and 38.5 ± 6.7% of total energy intake, respectively, P = 0.018). In conclusion, mutation carriers differ from controls by a higher consumption of carbohydrates counterbalanced by a lower consumption of lipids expressed as percentage of total energy intake. However, functional MC4R mutations do not have a higher risk of compulsive eating contrary to what was previously suggested.

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