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Gene variants and binge eating as predictors of comorbidity and outcome of treatment in severe obesity

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  • Melanocortin-4 Receptor Gene
  • Binge Eating
  • Severe Obesity
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Melanocortin-4 receptor gene (MC4R) variants are associated with obesity and binge eating disorder (BED), whereas the more prevalent proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and leptin receptor gene (LEPR) mutations are rarely associated with obesity or BED. The complete coding regions of MC4R, POMC, and leptin-binding domain of LEPR were comparatively sequenced in 300 patients (233 women and 67 men; mean ± SEM age, 42 ± 1 years; mean ± SEM body mass index, 43.5 ± 0.3 kg/m2) undergoing laparoscopic gastric banding. Eating behavior, esophagogastric pathology, metabolic syndrome prevalence, and postoperative weight loss and complications were retrospectively compared between carriers and noncarriers of gene variants with and without BED during 36 ± 3-month follow-up. Nineteen patients (6.3%) carried 8 MC4R variants, 144 (48.0%) carried 13 POMC variants, and 247 (82.3%) carried 11 LEPR variants. All MC4R variant carriers had BED, compared with 18.1% of noncarriers (P < 0.001). BED rates were similar among POMC and LEPR variant carriers and noncarriers. Gastroscopy revealed more erosive esophagitis in bingers than in nonbingers before and after banding (P < 0.04), regardless of genotype. MC4R variant carriers lost less weight (P = 0.003), showed less improvement in metabolic syndrome (P < 0.001), had dilated esophagi (P < 0.001) and more vomiting (P < 0.05), and had fivefold more gastric complications (P < 0.001) than noncarriers. Overall outcome was poorest in MC4R variant carriers, better in noncarriers with BED (P < 0.05), and best in noncarriers without BED (P < 0.001). MC4R variants influence comorbidities and treatment outcomes in severe obesity.

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