MC4R dimerization in the paraventricular nucleus and GHSR/MC3R heterodimerization in the arcuate nucleus: Is there relevance for body weight regulation?

Academic Article


  • The worldwide obesity epidemic is increasing, yet at this time, no long-acting and specific pharmaceutical therapies are available. Peripheral hormonal signals communicate metabolic status to the hypothalamus by activating their corresponding receptors in the arcuate nucleus (ARC). In this brain region, a variety of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are expressed that are potentially involved in weight regulation, but so far, the detailed function of most hypothalamic GPCRs is only partially understood. An important and underappreciated feature of GPCRs is the capacity for regulation via di- and heterodimerization. Increasing evidence implicates that heterodimerization of GPCRs results in profound functional consequences. Recently, we could demonstrate that interaction of the melanocortin 3 receptor (MC3R) and the growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR)-1a results in a modulation of function in both receptors. Although the physiological role of GPCR-GPCR interaction in the hypothalamus is yet to be elucidated, this concept promises new avenues for investigation and understanding of hypothalamic functions dependent on GPCR signaling. Since GPCRs are important targets for drugs to combat many diseases, identification of heterodimers may be a prerequisite for highly specific drugs. Therefore, a detailed understanding of the mechanisms and their involvement in weight regulation is necessary. Fundamental to this understanding is the interplay of GPCR-GPCR in the hypothalamic nuclei in energy metabolism. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge on melanocortin receptors and GHSR-1a in hypothalamic weight regulation, especially as they pertain to possible drug targets. Furthermore, we include available evidence for the participation and significance of GPCR dimerization. Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG.
  • Authors

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Rediger A; Piechowski CL; Habegger K; Grüters A; Krude H; Tschöp MH; Kleinau G; Biebermann H
  • Start Page

  • 277
  • End Page

  • 288
  • Volume

  • 95
  • Issue

  • 4