The melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) has been indicated as a therapeutic target for metabolic disorders such as anorexia, cachexia, and obesity. The current study investigates the in vivo effects on energy homeostasis of a 15 nM MC4R antagonist SKY2-23-7, Ac-Trp-DPhe(p-I)-Arg-Trp-NH2, that is a 3700 nM melanocortin-3 receptor (MC3R) antagonist with minimal MC3R and MC4R agonist activity. When monitoring both male and female mice in TSE metabolic cages, sex-specific responses were observed in food intake, respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and energy expenditure. A 7.5 nmol dose of SKY2-23-7 increased food intake, increased RER, and trended toward decreasing energy expenditure in male mice. However, this compound had minimal effect on female mice's food intake and RER at the 7.5 nmol dose. A 2.5 nmol dose of SKY2-23-7 significantly increased female food intake, RER, and energy expenditure while having a minimal effect on male mice at this dose. The observed sex differences of SKY2-23-7 administration result in the discovery of a novel chemical probe for elucidating the molecular mechanisms of the sexual dimorphism present within the melanocortin pathway. To further explore the melanocortin sexual dimorphism, hypothalamic gene expression was examined. The mRNA expression of the MC3R and proopiomelanocortin (POMC) were not significantly different between sexes. However, the expression of agouti-related peptide (AGRP) was significantly higher in female mice which may be a possible mechanism for the sex-specific effects observed with SKY2-23-7.
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© 2016 American Chemical Society.
- TSE cages
- gender differences
- gene expression
- sexual dimorphism