top of page


Name of Protein

Agouti-related protein

Protein Function

Year Discovered

Regulates appetite and energy homeostasis



Agouti-related protein (AgRP) is a neuropeptide involved in the regulation of energy balance, appetite, and metabolism. It is primarily produced and released by neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus, a brain region critical for controlling feeding behavior and energy homeostasis. AgRP shares structural similarities with the agouti-signaling protein (ASIP), which is involved in determining coat color in mammals.AgRP acts as an antagonist of the melanocortin receptors, specifically MC3R and MC4R, which are G-protein coupled receptors involved in appetite regulation and energy expenditure. Under normal physiological conditions, proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons in the arcuate nucleus release α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH), an agonist of MC3R and MC4R, leading to decreased food intake and increased energy expenditure. Conversely, AgRP neurons release AgRP, which competes with α-MSH for binding to the melanocortin receptors, resulting in increased appetite and reduced energy expenditure.AgRP expression and release are regulated by various factors, including nutritional status, hormones, and neural inputs. For instance, fasting and low leptin levels, an adipocyte-derived hormone that signals energy stores, stimulate AgRP expression, promoting hunger and food-seeking behavior.Dysregulation of AgRP function has been implicated in the development of obesity and metabolic disorders. Mutations in the genes encoding AgRP or its receptors may lead to alterations in appetite regulation, contributing to weight gain and obesity. Additionally, AgRP may play a role in the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, as it has been shown to modulate glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity.In conclusion, agouti-related protein (AgRP) is a neuropeptide involved in the regulation of energy balance, appetite, and metabolism through its antagonistic actions on melanocortin receptors. Dysregulation of AgRP function has been implicated in obesity and related metabolic disorders, making it a potential target for the development of novel therapeutic strategies aimed at treating these conditions.

bottom of page