Electrophysiological effects of MCH on neurons in the hypothalamus

Peptides. 2009 Nov;30(11):2025-30. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2009.05.006. Epub 2009 May 20.


Melanin concentrating hormone (MCH) has been implicated in many brain functions and behaviors essential to the survival of animals. The hypothalamus is one of the primary targets where MCH-containing nerve fibers and MCH receptors are extensively expressed and its actions in the brain are exerted. Since the identification of MCH receptors as orphan G protein coupled receptors, the cellular effects of MCH have been revealed in many non-neuronal expression systems (including Xenopus oocytes and cell lines), however, the mechanism by which MCH modulates the activity in the neuronal circuitry of the brain is still under investigation. This review summarizes our current knowledge of electrophysiological effects of MCH on neurons in the hypothalamus, particularly in the lateral hypothalamus. Generally, MCH exerts inhibitory effects on neurons in this structure and may serve as a homeostatic regulator in the lateral hypothalamic area. Given the contrast between the limited data on cellular functions of MCH in the hypothalamus versus a fast growing body of evidence on the vital role of MCH in animal behavior, further investigations of the former are warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Electrophysiology
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamic Hormones / pharmacology*
  • Hypothalamus / cytology*
  • Hypothalamus / drug effects*
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Melanins / pharmacology*
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism
  • Orexins
  • Pituitary Hormones / pharmacology*
  • Receptors, Pituitary Hormone / genetics
  • Receptors, Pituitary Hormone / physiology


  • Hypothalamic Hormones
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Melanins
  • Neuropeptides
  • Orexins
  • Pituitary Hormones
  • Receptors, Pituitary Hormone
  • melanin-concentrating hormone receptor
  • melanin-concentrating hormone