Regulation of Eating Behavior

Description: Melanin concentrating hormone (MCH) is a cyclic peptide found in fish and mammals. Although involved in regulation of color change in fish, it is localized in the ventral aspect of the Zona Incerta and the lateral hypothalamus in mammals, and was suspected to play a role in complex mammalian behaviors. This invention is based on the discovery that MCH regulates eating behavior in mammals. Specifically, MCH has been shown to stimulate feeding in rodents, while animals lacking the MCH gene are lean. The invention therefore comprises methods of using MCH or its analogs, agonists or antagonists to control weight gain or eating behavior. The invention also includes transgenic mice, engineered either to overexpress MCH, or to have the MCH gene knocked out. Clinical & Commercial Utility: The invention features methods of controlling appetite or weight gain through the use of agonists or antagonists of MCH. In addition, the invention features transgenic mouse models for research on obesity and eating disorders, including transgenic mice with the gene encoding MCH knocked out, resulting in a lean animal, as well as mice with the gene overexpressed, leading to mice that serve as a model for obesity. Joslin Diabetes Center and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center are the owners of U.S. Patent Number 5,849,708, as well as an issued EPO patent. The knockout mice are described in Shimada, et al., Nature (1998) 396:670-674. The overexpressing mice are described in Ludwig, et al., J. Clin. Invest. (2001) 107:379-86.
Joslin Diabetes Center is the owner of U.S. Patent Number 5,849,708 claiming this invention.

Type of Offer: Licensing

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