Melanocortin-4 receptor messenger ribonucleic acid expression in rat cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and integumentary systems. Academic Article uri icon


  • We determined melanocortin-4 receptor (MC4-R) mRNA ontogeny in the rat using in situ hybridization and a rat MC4-R riboprobe and showed numerous peripheral sites of expression for MC4-R. The developing heart showed MC4-R mRNA expression as early as embryonic day (E) 14. In the lungs of E16-E20 fetuses, the cells surrounding developing bronchi expressed relatively strong in situ signal. Muscles associated with the respiratory system such as diaphragm and intercostal muscle expressed MC4-R mRNA as early as E14. Occipital and tongue muscles, in particular the genioglossus, showed diffuse signal at E15-E20. In the eye, a discrete signal was detected in an outer neuroblastic layer which may correspond to retina or extraocular muscle. Developing limb buds expressed relatively strong signal at E14, whereas skull bone and joint capsules of the paw of the forelimb showed signal at E18-E20. Using RT-PCR and ribonuclease protection assays, we determined that MC4-R mRNA is also expressed in adult rat heart, lung, kidney, and testis. The expression of the MC4-R in cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and integumentary systems supports functional roles for the MC4-R in addition to its roles in appetite, weight control, and regulation of linear growth.

published proceedings

  • Endocrinology

author list (cited authors)

  • Mountjoy, K. G., Jenny Wu, C., Dumont, L. M., & Wild, J. M.

citation count

  • 51

complete list of authors

  • Mountjoy, Kathleen G||Jenny Wu, C-S||Dumont, Laurence M||Wild, J Martin

publication date

  • December 2003