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An Obesity-Predisposing Variant of the FTO Gene Regulates D2R-Dependent Reward Learning


Sevgi, Meltem; Rigoux, Lionel; Kuhn, Anne B; Mauer, Jan; Schilbach, Leonhard; Hess, Martin E; Gruendler, Theo O J; Ullsperger, Markus; Stephan, Klaas Enno; Bruning, Jens C; Tittgemeyer, Marc (2015). An Obesity-Predisposing Variant of the FTO Gene Regulates D2R-Dependent Reward Learning. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(36):12584-12592.

Abstract

Variations in the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene are linked to obesity. However, the underlying neurobiological mechanisms by which these genetic variants influence obesity, behavior, and brain are unknown. Given that Fto regulates D2/3R signaling in mice, we tested in humans whether variants in FTO would interact with a variant in the ANKK1 gene, which alters D2R signaling and is also associated with obesity. In a behavioral and fMRI study, we demonstrate that gene variants of FTO affect dopamine (D2)-dependent midbrain brain responses to reward learning and behavioral responses associated with learning from negative outcome in humans. Furthermore, dynamic causal modeling confirmed that FTO variants modulate the connectivity in a basic reward circuit of meso-striato-prefrontal regions, suggesting a mechanism by which genetic predisposition alters reward processing not only in obesity, but also in other disorders with altered D2R-dependent impulse control, such as addiction.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT:
Variations in the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene are associated with obesity. Here we demonstrate that variants of FTO affect dopamine-dependent midbrain brain responses and learning from negative outcomes in humans during a reward learning task. Furthermore, FTO variants modulate the connectivity in a basic reward circuit of meso-striato-prefrontal regions, suggesting a mechanism by which genetic vulnerability in reward processing can increase predisposition to obesity.

Abstract

Variations in the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene are linked to obesity. However, the underlying neurobiological mechanisms by which these genetic variants influence obesity, behavior, and brain are unknown. Given that Fto regulates D2/3R signaling in mice, we tested in humans whether variants in FTO would interact with a variant in the ANKK1 gene, which alters D2R signaling and is also associated with obesity. In a behavioral and fMRI study, we demonstrate that gene variants of FTO affect dopamine (D2)-dependent midbrain brain responses to reward learning and behavioral responses associated with learning from negative outcome in humans. Furthermore, dynamic causal modeling confirmed that FTO variants modulate the connectivity in a basic reward circuit of meso-striato-prefrontal regions, suggesting a mechanism by which genetic predisposition alters reward processing not only in obesity, but also in other disorders with altered D2R-dependent impulse control, such as addiction.

SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT:
Variations in the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene are associated with obesity. Here we demonstrate that variants of FTO affect dopamine-dependent midbrain brain responses and learning from negative outcomes in humans during a reward learning task. Furthermore, FTO variants modulate the connectivity in a basic reward circuit of meso-striato-prefrontal regions, suggesting a mechanism by which genetic vulnerability in reward processing can increase predisposition to obesity.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Engineering
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:dopamine; fMRI; genetics; modeling; obesity; reinforcement learning
Language:English
Date:2015
Deposited On:19 Nov 2015 09:34
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:31
Publisher:Society for Neuroscience
ISSN:0270-6474
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1589-15.2015
PubMed ID:26354923

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