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Der Hautarzt; Zeitschrift fur Dermatologie, Venerologie, und verwandte Gebiete

[Alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone. From bench to bedside].


PMID 20512306

Abstract

Alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) is a tridecapeptide that is produced by the skin itself from the precursor proopiomelanocortin. It crucially mediates ultraviolet light-induced tanning after binding to melanocortin-1 receptors (MC-1R) expressed on the surface of epidermal melanocytes. The potent pigment-inducing and also cytoprotective actions of alpha-MSH are the rationale for the performance of first phase II clinical trials with Nle4-D-Phe7-alpha-MSH (NDP-alpha-MSH), a subcutaneously administered synthetic and superpotent alpha-MSH analogue, in patients with photodermatoses such as erythropoietic protoporphyria. Since alpha-MSH has shown promising anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic properties in numerous preclinical studies, it will be most interesting to evaluate these effects in further clinical pilot studies with NDP-alpha-MSH. In addition to alpha-MSH analogues, truncated tripeptides such as KDPT which do not bind to MC-1R but have sustained anti-inflammatory properties are currently emerging as another novel therapeutic strategy in dermatology.