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Variations in a gene that regulates food intake are associated with anorexia nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is a dramatic disease with a high degree of mortality. Family studies suggested a strong genetic component in AN. The authors demonstrate for the first time an association between a mutation in a gene, Agouti-related Protein (AgRP), and AN. AgRP stimulates food intake when injected into brains of rats and mice, because AgRP suppresses melanocortin receptor activity. Genetic studies in humans and mice demonstrated that decreased activity of melanocortin receptors is associated with obesity. The authors' finding suggests that the opposite occurs when there is increased melanocortin receptor activity: inadequate suppression of melanocortin receptors by (mutated) AgRP increases the susceptibility to develop AN.


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Contact: Ava Martin
MolecularPsychiatry@mednet.ucla.edu
310-206-6739
Molecular Psychiatry
5-Apr-2001


Page: 1

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