Activation of the melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) with the synthetic agonist RM-493 decreases body weight and increases energy expenditure (EE) in nonhuman primates. The effects of MC4R agonists on EE in humans have not been examined to date.Objective, Design, and Setting:
In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study, we examined the effects of the MC4R agonist RM-493 on resting energy expenditure (REE) in obese subjects in an inpatient setting.Study Participants and Methods:
Twelve healthy adults (6 men and 6 women) with body mass index of 35.7 ± 2.9 kg/m2 (mean ± SD) received RM-493 (1 mg/24 h) or placebo by continuous subcutaneous infusion over 72 hours, followed immediately by crossover to the alternate treatment. All subjects received a weight-maintenance diet (50% carbohydrate, 30% fat, and 20% protein) and performed 30 minutes of standardized exercise daily. Continuous EE was measured on the third treatment day in a room calorimeter, and REE in the fasting state was defined as the mean of 2 30-minute resting periods.Results:
RM-493 increased REE vs placebo by 6.4% (95% confidence interval, 0.68–13.02%), on average by 111 kcal/24 h (95% confidence interval, 15–207 kcal, P = .03). Total daily EE trended higher, whereas the thermic effect of a test meal and exercise EE did not differ significantly. The 23-hour nonexercise respiratory quotient was lower during RM-493 treatment (0.833 ± 0.021 vs 0.848 ± 0.022, P = .02). No adverse effect on heart rate or blood pressure was observed.Conclusions:
Short-term administration of the MC4R agonist RM-493 increases REE and shifts substrate oxidation to fat in obese individuals.