Rare genetic causes of obesity: Diagnosis and management in clinical care Academic Article uri icon

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  • Rare genetic forms of obesity are linked to impaired energy balance (i.e., eating behaviour and energy expenditure) involving hypothalamic pathways. More than 60 genes coding for proteins located in the hypothalamic leptin/melanocortin pathway contribute to the development of these rare forms of obesity. The ambition of the French National Protocol for the Diagnosis and Care (PNDS) of Obesity of Rare Causes was to establish practical recommendations for assessment and management at all ages. This report is available on the website of the French Health Authority (HAS). In addition to severe obesity, patients often display obesity-related comorbidities and neuropsychological/psychiatric disorders. These complex conditions make clinical management particularly challenging. Early diagnosis is critical for the organization of coordinated specialized multidisciplinary care, with mandatory interaction between caregivers, social partners and families. Strategies to prevent aggravation of obesity consist in limiting access to food, establishing a reassuring daily eating environment, and the practice of sustained adapted supervised daily physical activity. The implementation of genetic diagnosis in clinical practice now enables a personalized medicine approach with access to new drug therapies, and improves the analysis of the risk/benefit ratio of bariatric surgery.


  • Dubern, Béatrice
  • Mosbah, Héléna
  • Pigeyre, Marie Eva
  • Clément, Karine
  • Poitou, Christine

publication date

  • February 2022