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, 39 (4), 402-423

MC4R Agonists: Structural Overview on Antiobesity Therapeutics


MC4R Agonists: Structural Overview on Antiobesity Therapeutics

Juliana Pereira Lopes Gonçalves et al. Trends Pharmacol Sci.


The melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4R) regulates adipose tissue formation and energy homeostasis, and is believed to be a monogenic target for novel antiobesity therapeutics. Several research efforts targeting this receptor have identified potent and selective agonists. While viable agonists have been characterized in vitro, undesirable side effects frequently appeared during clinical trials. The most promising candidates have diverse structures, including linear peptides, cyclic peptides, and small molecules. Herein, we present a compilation of potent MC4R agonists and discuss the pivotal structural differences within those molecules that resulted in good selectivity for MC4R over other melanocortins. We provide insight on recent progress in the field and reflect on directions for development of new agonists.

Keywords: MC4R; agonists; melanocortins; obesity; structure–activity.

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