Peripheral administration of the N-terminal pro-opiomelanocortin fragment 1-28 to Pomc-/- mice reduces food intake and weight but does not affect adrenal growth or corticosterone production

Anthony P. Coll, Martin Fassnacht, Steffen Klammer, Stephanie Hahner, Dominik M. Schulte, Sarah Piper, Y. C.Loraine Tung, Benjamin G. Challis, Yacob Weinstein, Bruno Allolio, Stephen O'Rahilly, Felix Beuschlein

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28 Scopus citations


Pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) is a polypeptide precursor that undergoes extensive processing to yield a range of peptides with biologically diverse functions. POMC-derived ACTH is vital for normal adrenal function and the melanocortin α-MSH plays a key role in appetite control and energy homeostasis. However, the roles of peptide fragments derived from the highly conserved N-terminal region of POMC are less well characterized. We have used mice with a null mutation in the Pomc gene (Pomc-/-) to determine the in vivo effects of synthetic N-terminal 1-28 POMC, which has been shown previously to possess adrenal mitogenic activity. 1-28 POMC (20 gg) given s.c. for 10 days had no effect on the adrenal cortex of Pomc-/- mice, with resultant cortical morphology and plasma corticosterone levels being indistinguishable from sham treatment. Concurrent administration of 1-28 POMC and 1-24 ACTH (30 μg/day) resulted in changes identical to 1-24 ACTH treatment alone, which consisted of upregulation of steroidogenic enzymes, elevation of corticosterone levels, hypertrophy of the zona fasciculate, and regression of the X-zone. However, treatment of corticosterone-depleted Pomc-/- mice with 1-28 POMC reduced cumulative food intake and total body weight. These anorexigenic effects were ameliorated when the peptide was administered to Pomc-/- mice with circulating corticosterone restored either to a low physiological level by corticosterone-supplemented drinking water (CORT) or to a supraphysiological level by concurrent 1-24 ACTH administration. Further, i.c.v. administration of 1-28 POMC to CORT-treated Pomc-/- mice had no effect on food intake or body weight. In wild-type mice, the effects of 1-28 POMC upon food intake and body weight were identical to sham treatment, but 1-28 POMC was able to ameliorate the hyperphagia induced by concurrent 1-24 ACTH treatment. In a mouse model which lacks all endogenous POMC peptides, s.c. treatment with synthetic 1-28 POMC alone can reduce food intake and body weight, but has no impact upon adrenal growth or steroidogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)515-525
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Endocrinology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2006


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