Delacretaz A, Preisiq M, Vandenberghe F, Saigi Morgui N, Quteineh L, Choong E, Gholam-Rezaee M, Kutalik Z, Magistretti P, Aubry JM, von Gunten A, Castelao E, Vollenweider P, Waeber G, Conus P, Eap CB. Influence of MCHR2 and MCHR2-AS1 genetic polymorphisms on body mass index in psychiatric patients and in population-based subjects with present or past atypical depression. PLoS One. 2015 Oct 13;10(10):e0139155.

Obesity development during psychotropic treatments represents a major health issue in psychiatry. Melanin-concentrating hormone receptor 2 (MCHR2) is a central receptor involved in energy homeostasis. MCHR2 shares its promoter region with MCHR2-AS1, a long antisense non-coding RNA. The aim of this study was to determine whether tagging single nucleotide polymorphisms (tSNPs) of MCHR2 and MCHR2-AS1 are associated with the body mass index (BMI) in the psychiatric and in the general population. The influence of MCHR2 and MCHR2-AS1 tSNPs on BMI was firstly investigated in a discovery psychiatric sample (n1 = 474). Positive results were tested for replication in two other psychiatric samples (n2 = 164, n3 = 178) and in two population-based samples (CoLaus, n4 = 5409; GIANT, n5 = 113809). In the discovery sample, TT carriers of rs7754794C>T had 1.08 kg/m2 (p = 0.04) lower BMI as compared to C-allele carriers. This observation was replicated in an independent psychiatric sample (-2.18 kg/m2; p = 0.009). The association of rs7754794C>T and BMI seemed stronger in subjects younger than 45 years (median of age). In the population-based sample, a moderate association was observed (-0.17 kg/m2; p = 0.02) among younger individuals (<45y). Interestingly, this association was totally driven by patients meeting lifetime criteria for atypical depression, i.e. major depressive episodes characterized by symptoms such as an increased appetite. Indeed, patients with atypical depression carrying rs7754794-TT had 1.17 kg/m2 (p = 0.04) lower BMI values as compared to C-allele carriers, the effect being stronger in younger individuals (-2.50 kg/m2; p = 0.03; interaction between rs7754794 and age: p-value = 0.08). This study provides new insights on the possible influence of MCHR2 and/or MCHR2-AS1 on obesity in psychiatric patients and on the pathophysiology of atypical depression.

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