Tauber M - Diene G - Mimoun E - Çabal-Berthoumieu S - Mantoulan C - Molinas C - Muscatelli F - Salles JP


Frontiers of hormone research


Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS), first described in 1956, is considered as a paradigm of a neurodevelopmental disorder with severe and early obesity with hyperphagia and impaired satiety. The improved knowledge in the natural history and recent data on genetics offer new perspectives for understanding the metabolic and endocrine dysfunctions and possibly for treatment. Natural history of the disease has been described due to the early diagnosis performed in the first months of life and various nutritional phases have been described. In addition, there is clear evidence that the abnormal feeding behavior is included in the behavioral problems. Brain imaging studies have shown that some brain regions may be important in PWS. The role of SNORD116 gene cluster is detailed and its links with circadian rhythm and brain and hypothalamus development. Pathophysiology of the abnormal ghrelin levels and of OT dysfunction is documented. While no effect on appetite and weight regulation has been reported with ghrelin antagonists, OT has been shown to improve some of the behavioral problems in adults. We discuss our hypothesis of an abnormal ghrelin/OT/dopamine pathway which may explain the switch of nutritional phases and behavior. These new aspects offer an opportunity for therapeutic use and possible early intervention.

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