Role of ADHD symptoms as a contributing factor to obesity in patients with MC4R mutations
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Besides the crucial role of genetic susceptibility in the development of early-onset obesity, it has been shown that feeding behavior could contribute to increased body weight. A significant association between obesity/overweight and ADHD has been reported, suggesting that these two conditions, despite their heterogeneity, might share common molecular pathways. Although the co-occurrence of obesity and ADHD is increasingly supported by empirical evidence, the complex pathogenetic link between these two conditions is still unclear. Here, we focus on the relationship between MC4R gene mutations and ADHD in children with early-onset obesity. Mutations in the gene MC4R lead to the most common form of monogenic obesity. We hypothesize that dysregulated eating behavior in a subset of patients with MC4R mutation might be due to comorbid ADHD symptoms, underpinned by abnormal reward mechanisms. Therefore, we speculate that it is possible to prevent obesity in a subset of patients with MC4R mutation, even if these patients are genetically programmed to "be fat", via an appropriate treatment of ADHD symptoms. We hope that our paper will stimulate further studies testing if the early screening for ADHD symptoms and their appropriate treatment may be an effective way to prevent obesity in a subset of children with MC4R mutation. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.