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Obesity and thinness: insights from genetics

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Peer-reviewed

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Abstract

Genetic disruption of key molecular components of the hypothalamic leptin–melanocortin pathway causes severe obesity in mice and humans. Physiological studies in people who carry these mutations have shown that the adipose tissue-derived hormone leptin primarily acts to defend against starvation. A lack of leptin causes an intense drive to eat and increases the rewarding properties of food, demonstrating that human appetite has a strong biological basis. Genetic studies in clinical- and population-based cohorts of people with obesity or thinness continue to provide new insights into the physiological mechanisms involved in weight regulation and identify molecular targets for weight loss therapy. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue ‘Causes of obesity: theories, conjectures and evidence (Part II)’.

Description

Peer reviewed: True


Publication status: Published

Keywords

melanocortin, thinness, hyperphagia, genetics, leptin, obesity

Journal Title

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

0962-8436
1471-2970

Volume Title

378

Publisher

The Royal Society