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High Food Reinforcement Plus Genotype Boost Calorie Intake

The two factors may interact to affect energy consumption in the obese

MONDAY, Oct. 15 (HealthDay News) -- People who find food very reinforcing and who have the dopamine D2 receptor genotype ingest more calories than people without those traits, suggesting that both factors may combine to affect energy consumption, researchers report in the October issue of Behavioral Neuroscience.

Leonard H. Epstein, of the State University of New York, in Buffalo, and colleagues compared laboratory calorie consumption, food reinforcement, dopamine transporter genes, and polymorphisms of the dopamine D2 receptor in 45 non-obese and 29 obese participants between ages 18 and 40.

The researchers found more food reinforcement experienced by obese participants than non-obese participants, particularly among those who had the Taq1 A1 allele.

Participants experiencing elevated food reinforcement levels consumed more calories than others, and those with high food reinforcement plus the Taq1 A1 allele consumed the most calories, the researchers reported. However, the DAT1 genotype did not seem to have any effect.

"These data show that individual differences in food reinforcement may be important for obesity and that the DRD2 genotype may interact with food reinforcement to influence energy intake," the authors wrote.

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