Melanin-concentrating hormone: from fish skin to skinny mammals

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Jul;14(5):243-8. doi: 10.1016/s1043-2760(03)00079-1.


In recent years, the key role of melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) in regulating mammalian energy balance has been confirmed through several lines of evidence. When administered exogenously, MCH leads to a rapid and robust feeding response and chronic infusions result in the development of mild obesity. At the physiological level, it is known that MCH expression changes in states of altered energy balance, such as fasting and obesity. Genetic studies with mice have shown that ablation of either the gene for prepro-MCH or the gene encoding the MCH receptor leads to a lean phenotype. Finally, the administration of MCH antagonists appears to inhibit both feeding and the development of diet-induced obesity. The aim of this article is to review the recent data on MCH and MCH receptors in light of their emerging roles in energy homeostasis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Fishes / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamic Hormones / biosynthesis
  • Hypothalamic Hormones / physiology*
  • Mammals / physiology*
  • Melanins / biosynthesis
  • Melanins / physiology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Pituitary Hormones / biosynthesis
  • Pituitary Hormones / physiology*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Skin Physiological Phenomena*


  • Hypothalamic Hormones
  • Melanins
  • Pituitary Hormones
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • melanin-concentrating hormone