Research report 2016 - Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research

Genetic predisposition for obesity influences learning behaviour

Tittgemeyer, Marc; Brüning, Jens
Abteilung Translational Neurocircuitry
Variations in the fat mass and obesity-associated (FTO) gene are associated with obesity. The same variants of FTO affect dopamine-dependent midbrain responses and learning from negative outcomes in humans. They furthermore modulate the connectivity in a basic reward circuit of meso-striato-prefrontal regions and facilitate neural responses elicited by food cues. These findings provide evidence for FTO-specific differences in both brain structure and function in individuals, thereby contributing to a mechanistic understanding of why FTO is a predisposing factor for obesity.

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