American journal of physiology. Regulatory, integrative and comparative physiology

Anatomical dissociation of melanocortin receptor agonist effects on taste- and gut-sensitive feeding processes.

PMID 21734020


Injections of the melanocortin 3/4 receptor (MCR) agonist melanotan II (MTII) to a variety of brain structures produces anorexia, suggesting distributed brain MCR control of food intake. We performed a detailed analysis of feeding behavior (licking microstructure analysis) after a range of MTII doses (0.005 nM to 1 nM) was targeted to the forebrain (third ventricle, 3V) or hindbrain (fourth ventricle, 4V) regions. MTII (0.1 nM and 1 nM) delivered to the 3V or 4V significantly reduced 0.8 M sucrose intake. The anorexia was mediated by reductions in the number of licking bursts in the meal, intrameal ingestion rate, and meal duration; these measures have been associated with postingestive feedback inhibition of feeding. Anorexia after 3V but not 4V MTII injection was also associated with a reduced rate of licking in the first minute (initial lick rate) and reduced mean duration of licking bursts; these measures have been associated with taste evaluation. MTII effects on taste evaluation were further explored: In experiment 2, 3V MTII (1 nM) significantly reduced intake of noncaloric 4 mM saccharin and 0.1 M and 1 M sucrose solutions, but not water. The anorexia was again associated with reduced number of licking bursts, ingestion rate, meal duration, initial lick rate, and mean burst duration. In experiments 3 and 4, brief access (20 s) licking responses for sweet sucrose (0.015 M to 0.25 M) and bitter quinine hydrochloride (0.01 mM to 1 mM) solutions were evaluated. Licking responses for sucrose were suppressed, whereas those for quinine solutions were increased after 3V MTII, but not after 4V MTII injections (0.1 nM and 1 nM). The results suggest that multiple brain MCR sites influence sensitivity to visceral feedback, whereas forebrain MCR stimulation is necessary to influence taste responsiveness, possibly through attenuation of the perceived intensity of taste stimuli.

Related Materials

Product #



Molecular Formula

Add to Cart

M8693 Melanotan II acetate salt, ≥95% (HPLC)
C50H69N15O9 · xC2H4O2