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CR Barb, AS Robertson, JB Barrett, RR Kraeling, and KL Houseknecht

A recently discovered class of receptors, melanocortin-3 and -4 receptor (MC3/4-R), are located within the brain and modulate feed intake in rodents. Stimulation of the receptor (agonist) inhibits feed intake whereas blockade (antagonist) of the receptor increases intake. Our knowledge of factors regulating voluntary feed intake in humans and domestic animals is very limited. i.c.v. administration of an MC3/4-R agonist, NDP-MSH, suppressed (P<0.05) feed intake compared with controls at 12, 24, 48 and 72 h after treatment in growing pigs. Fed pigs were more responsive to the MC3/4-R agonist then fasted animals. However, i.c.v. treatment with MC3/4-R antagonist, SHU9119, failed to stimulate intake. The failure of MC3/4-R antagonist to stimulate feed intake suggests involvement of other brain hormone(s) which antagonize the action of SHU9119 at the MC3/4-R, blocking its stimulatory effect on intake. Treatment with NDP-MSH or SHU9119, across a wide dose range, failed to affect LH and GH secretion, except for the 10 micro g dose of NDP-MSH, which exhibited both a stimulatory and an inhibitory effect on GH secretion in fasted animals. Treatment with agouti-related peptide, a natural brain hormone that blocks the MC3/4R, failed to stimulate feed intake. These results do not support the idea that endogenous melanocortin pays a critical role in regulating feed intake and pituitary hormone secretion in the pig. SHU9119 blocked the NDP-MSH-induced increase in cAMP in HEK293 cells expressing the porcine MC4-R sequence without the missense mutation. The EC(50) and IC(50) values were similar to the human MC4-R, confirming that SHU9119 is a pig MC4-R antagonist. However, pigs were heterozygous for an MC4-R gene missense mutation. It is possible that the MC4-R mutation alters function and this may explain the failure to demonstrate MC3/4-R involvement in modulating feeding behavior and LH and GH secretion in the pig.