What is Melanotan?
Melanotan is a synthetic peptide synthesized to mimic the action of melanocortins. These melanocortins include melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH), alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH), and adrenal-cortical-stimulating hormone (ACTH). MSH includes a variety of peptide hormones that may trigger melanin production, which is responsible for the pigmentation of skin and hair follicle cells. This peptide family includes Melanotan 1 (MT1) and 2 (MT2).
What is Melanotan 1 Peptide?
Melanotan 1, is an analog of the alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH). First synthesized at the University of Arizona in the 1980s, MT1 is currently being studied for its potential to aid in mitigating skin disorders. The peptide has been actively studied in research on erythropoietic protoporphyria to prevent phototoxicity or UV damage. Researchers have also observed a possible influence in diverse physiological processes like feeding patterns, central nervous system operations, blood pressure, etc. The clinical trials involving the molecule are currently in phase II stage for keratosis (a particular kind of skin damage induced by the UV exposure) and the more severe squamous cell carcinoma and in phase III stage for the mitigation of polymorphous light eruption.
What is Melanotan 2 Peptide?
Melanotan 2 or MT2 is similarly a synthetic analog of α-MSH. Like Melanotan 1 peptide, it is being researched for its potential to affect melanogenesis or the production of melanin. However, studies have uncovered several ancillary impacts that the peptide may have. Aside from stimulating melanogenesis, MT2 has been suggested by researchers to host potential impact on female sexual dysfunction and erectile dysfunction across multiple preclinical animal studies.
Melanotan 2 is an upgraded synthetic variant of the alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone. It is a melatonin modification originally developed alongside Melanotan 1 peptide at the University of Arizona in the 1980s. Interestingly, the development of Melanotan has initiated studies of the entire branch of receptor science, which deals with a new understanding of diverse physiological phenomena like hunger, sexual arousal, and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Animal studies have highlighted the following potential impacts of Melanotan 2, including:
1. Sexual stimulation,
2. Increased skin pigmentation,
3. Control of compulsive behavior,
4. Regulation of hunger as a result of leptin signaling,
5. Reduction in glucagon production,
6. Amelioration of features of autism, and
7. Improvement of cardiac function in specific settings
Melanotan 1 Peptide vs Melanotan 2 Peptide
These two peptides are almost identical to each other in terms of chemical structure and may also be similar in their mechanism of action. However, in terms of their effect, researchers have posited that they display divergent activities.
Studies have posited that Melanotan 1 peptide primarily appears to enhance melanogenesis through association with the melanocortin one receptor (MC1). Similar to MT1, MT2 also appears to have the potential to enhance melanogenesis by stimulating the melanocortin one receptor. However, unlike MT1, MT2 has been reported by researchers to interact with other melanocortin receptors, specifically MC1, MC3, MC4, MC5. Stimulation of other MC receptors may lead to outcomes such as penile erection, sexual arousal, and appetite suppression. Studies on animal and rat models have suggested that MT2 is potentially effective in stimulating the MC4 receptor. Reports indicate that MT2 may be 10-100x more potent than endogenous melanocyte hormones. This resulted in appetite suppression and weight loss in the murine models employed in the research.
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