Could Melanotan be the Super Antibiotic of the Future? As we dredge further into the 21st century the scientific revelations of longevity continue pouring in. Among those findings are evidence that α-MSH peptides may unlock the potential to combat infectious diseases. In this article we look at the science and ponder the potential of a future where darker skinned citizens are less prone to common infections.
Novel α-MSH Variants
First, it should be understood that not all alpha melanocyte stimulating hormones are identical. The ECS, or endocannabinoid system, by comparison is also a vast network of receptors which traverse a broad realm of organs and tissues. Much like with phytocannabinoids, designer α-MSH peptides which target specific receptors of the melanocortin system can achieve particular outcomes – even beyond a jammin’ summer tan!
Below, we take a look at several novel α-MSH peptides and highlight the various diseases and conditions they can potentially address. MTII is in the list, keep reading to find out why and what for!
In this structure-activity study, we discovered several compounds that have greater candidacidal activity than alpha-MSH. The peptide [d-Nal-7,Phe-12]-alpha-MSH (6-13) was the most potent of the analogues tested. The present results are very encouraging because they show the great potential of these peptides as a truly novel class of candidacidal compounds.Novel alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone peptide analogues with high candidacidal activity – PubMed (nih.gov)
α-MSH is a 13-amino acid peptide derived from proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and produced in the brain and pituitary gland. It is a key factor in the central regulation of appetite and body weight, and its precursor, POMC mRNA, is regulated by leptin (18), a factor recently shown to have substantial effects on bone mass when administered into the central nervous system (16). α-MSH acts via the melanocortin receptors, and it has recently been reported that humans deficient in melanocortin receptor 4 (MC4-R) have markedly increased bone mass (22). Also, it has recently been noted that MC4-R is present in an osteoblast-like cell line (UMR 106) (17), raising the possibility that α-MSH may act directly on the skeleton. The present studies address this question by assessing the effects of α-MSH on cells of the osteoblast and osteoclast lineages and assess the effect of its systemic administration to intact adult mice.α-Melanocyte-stimulating hormone is a novel regulator of bone | American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism
Future Antimicrobial and Anti-inflammatory Agent
The alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (-MSH) is a neuropeptide belonging to the melanocortin family. It is well known for its anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effects and shares several characteristics with antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). There have been some recent reports about the direct antimicrobial activity of -MSH against various microbes belonging to both fungal and bacterial pathogens. Similar to -MSH’s anti-inflammatory properties, its C-terminal residues also exhibit antimicrobial activity parallel to that of the entire peptide. This review is focused on the current findings regarding the direct antimicrobial potential and immunomodulatory mechanism of -MSH and its C-terminal fragments, with particular emphasis on the prospects of -MSH based peptides as a strong anti-infective agent.Alpha-Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone: An Emerging Anti-Inflammatory Antimicrobial Peptide (hindawi.com)
Scintigraphic imaging of metastatic melanoma lesions requires highly tumor-specific radiolabeled compounds. Because both melanotic and amelanotic melanomas overexpress receptors for α-melanocyte–stimulating hormone (α-MSH; receptor name: melanocortin type 1 receptor, or MC1R), radiolabeled α-MSH analogs are potential candidates for melanoma diagnosis. The aim of this study was to develop a melanoma-selective radiolabeled α-MSH analog suitable for melanoma diagnosis.A Novel DOTA-α-Melanocyte–Stimulating Hormone Analog for Metastatic Melanoma Diagnosis | Journal of Nuclear Medicine (snmjournals.org)
These findings suggest that STY39 attenuates BLM-induced experimental PF by limiting the inflammatory reaction through the inhibition of proinflammatory and profibrosis cytokines and by accelerating the metabolism of extracellular matrix. Therefore, STY39 may be an effective therapy for preventing PF.STY39, a Novel Alpha-Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone Analogue… : Shock (lww.com)
Suppression of collagen synthesis is a major therapeutic goal in the treatment of fibrotic disorders. We show here that α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH), a neuropeptide well known for its pigment-inducing capacity, modulates collagen synthesis and deposition. α-MSH in vitro suppresses the synthesis of collagen types I, III, and V and down-regulates the secretion of procollagen type I C-terminal peptide (PICP) in human dermal fibroblasts treated with the fibrogenic cytokine transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1). α-MSH did not interfere with TGF-β1 signaling, because TGF-β1-induced expression of collagen mRNA was not affected, implying a posttranscriptional mechanism.Collagen Metabolism Is a Novel Target of the Neuropeptide α-Melanocyte-stimulating Hormone* – Journal of Biological Chemistry (jbc.org)
Is Melanotan a Future Super Antibiotic?
While there is some compelling research that α-MSH can be a potentially effective antimicrobial, there is not enough empirical evidence yet that would award Melanotan the title of Super Antibiotic of the Future. The future, however, does look promising for better understanding and utilizing the healing potential of alpha melanocyte stimulating hormones for debilitating diseases.