Gene expression in hypothalamus, liver, and adipose tissues and food intake response to melanocortin-4 receptor agonist in pigs expressing melanocortin-4 receptor mutations

Barb, C. Richard
Hausman, Gary
Rekaya, Romdhane
Lents, Clay
Lkhagvadorj, Sender
Qu, Long
Cai, Weiguo
Couture, Oliver
Anderson, Lloyd
Dekkers, Jack
Tuggle, Christopher
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Transcriptional profiling was used to identify genes and pathways that responded to intracerebroventricular injection of melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) agonist [Nle4, D-Phe7]-α-melanocyte stimulating hormone (NDP-MSH) in pigs homozygous for the missense mutation in the MC4R, D298 allele (n = 12), N298 allele (n = 12), or heterozygous (n = 12). Food intake (FI) was measured at 12 and 24 h after treatment. All pigs were killed at 24 h after treatment, and hypothalamus, liver, and back-fat tissue was collected. NDP-MSH suppressed (P < 0.004) FI at 12 and 24 h in all animals after treatment. In response to NDP-MSH, 278 genes in hypothalamus (q ≤ 0.07, P ≤ 0.001), 249 genes in liver (q ≤ 0.07, P ≤ 0.001), and 5,066 genes in fat (q ≤ 0.07, P ≤ 0.015) were differentially expressed. Pathway analysis of NDP-MSH-induced differentially expressed genes indicated that genes involved in cell communication, nucleotide metabolism, and signal transduction were prominently downregulated in the hypothalamus. In both liver and adipose tissue, energy-intensive biosynthetic and catabolic processes were downregulated in response to NDP-MSH. This included genes encoding for biosynthetic pathways such as steroid and lipid biosynthesis, fatty acid synthesis, and amino acid synthesis. Genes involved in direct energy-generating processes, such as oxidative phosphorylation, electron transport, and ATP synthesis, were upregulated, whereas TCA-associated genes were prominently downregulated in NDP-MSH-treated pigs. Our data also indicate a metabolic switch toward energy conservation since genes involved in energy-intensive biosynthetic and catabolic processes were downregulated in NDP-MSH-treated pigs.


This article is from Physiological Genomics 41 (2010): 254–268, doi:10.1152/physiolgenomics.00006.2010.