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Mutations in the human melanocortin (MC)4 receptor have been associated with obesity, which underscores the relevance of this receptor as a drug target to treat obesity. Infusion of MC4R agonists decreases food intake, whereas inhibition of MC receptor activity by infusion of an MC receptor antagonist or with the inverse agonist AgRP results in increased(More)
BACKGROUND The presence of specific and common genetic etiologies for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was investigated for 132 candidate genes in a two-stage design-association study. METHODS 1,536 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) covering these candidate genes were tested in ASD (n = 144) and ADHD(More)
Obesity has a heritable component; however, the heterogeneity of obesity complicates dissection of its genetic background. In this study, we therefore focused on eating patterns as specific traits within obesity. These traits have a heritable component; genes associated with a specific eating pattern have not yet been reported at the population level. In(More)
Recently the DRD3 gene has been associated with ASD in two independent samples. Follow up analysis of the risk allele of the SNP rs167771 in 91 subjects revealed a significant association with a specific type of repetitive behavior: the factor "insistence on sameness" (IS) derived from the Autism Diagnostic Interview. This risk allele was associated with a(More)
The generation of motor activity levels is under tight neural control to execute essential behaviors, such as movement toward food or for social interaction. To identify novel neurobiological mechanisms underlying motor activity levels, we studied a panel of chromosome substitution (CS) strains derived from mice with high (C57BL/6J strain) or low motor(More)
Feeding is a physiological process, influenced by genetic factors and the environment. In recent years, many studies have been performed to unravel the involvement of genetics in both eating behavior and its pathological forms: eating disorders and obesity. In this review, we provide a condensed introduction on the neurological aspects of eating and we(More)
alpha-Melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) has a relatively low affinity for the melanocortin MC4 receptor. Constructs of multimeric alpha-MSH varying from one to eight subunits were synthesized to test whether they displayed an improved ability to bind to and activate the human melanocortin MC4 receptor. alpha-MSH subunits were coupled by a flexible(More)
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