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Melanocortin receptor 3 (MC3-R)


Aged-obese rats exhibit robust responses to a melanocortin agonist and antagonist despite leptin resistance.

To address whether defective melanocortin activation is one element of leptin resistance with age, we infused centrally the melanocortin agonist, MTII and antagonist, SHU9119 in young and old rats. Food intake, energy expenditure, adiposity, BAT UCP1, and leptin expression in white fat as well as hypothalamic expressions of MC3R, MC4R, POMC, AgRP and NPY were assessed. The MTII-evoked anorexia was transient whereas the SHU9119-induced hyperphagia was sustained in young and old. MTII elevated oxygen consumption in both ages. The oxygen consumption waned gradually in young but increased continuously in aged following MTII infusion. The MTII-mediated induction in BAT UCP1 was similarly robust in both ages as was the SHU9119-mediated suppression in UCP1. POMC and MC3/4 receptor expressions were unaltered with age. These findings demonstrate the effectiveness of MTII to bypass leptin resistance in aged-obese rats. The equally strong orexigenic response to SHU9119 coupled with unaltered POMC expression and food intake in the young versus old suggest that melanocortin tone is unchanged with age despite impaired melanocortin activation by leptin.

MeSH Terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Leptin
  • Male
  • Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones
  • Obesity
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Melanocortin
  • alpha-MSH