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Revista médica de Chile

versão impressa ISSN 0034-9887


SANTOS M, José Luis. Leptin-melanocortin system, body weight regulation and obesity. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2009, vol.137, n.9, pp.1225-1234. ISSN 0034-9887.

Obesity is a multifactorial disease that is rarely associated to single gene defects. However, due to their direct cause-effect relationships, those genetic defects that cause some forms of monogenic obesity are relevant in the study of mechanisms that contribute to increased energy intake and body fat accumulation. Most of the genes that have been shown to cause monogenic obesity are related to the leptin-melanocortin system. The functionality of this system has been elucidated through natural mutations (Agouti, ob and db) in mice and knock-out models. Mutations related to human monogenic obesity have been described in leptin, leptin receptor, proopiomelanocortin, prohormone convertase 1 or melanocortin receptor 4 genes. Therapy with human recombinant leptin in patients with genetic deficiency of the hormone is an effective medical treatment of obesity, although only applicable to very few families. The use of leptin-melanocortin agonists, drugs to avoid leptin resistance or combinations of treatments with leptin and other satiating peptides are currently being investigated for multifacotiral human obesity (Rev Méd Chile 2009; 137:1225-34).

Palavras-chave : Leptin; Melanocortins; Obesity.

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