Alpha-MSH peptides inhibit acute inflammation and contact sensitivity

Peptides. Sep-Oct 1990;11(5):979-82. doi: 10.1016/0196-9781(90)90020-6.


Alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone [alpha-MSH(1-13)] occurs within the CNS, skin, circulation and in other body sites. This tridecapeptide and its COOH-terminal tripeptide, alpha-MSH (11-13), have antipyretic and anti-inflammatory actions. Studies of the anti-inflammatory effects of these molecules have been confined mainly to tests of inhibition of histamine and endogenous pyrogen-induced increases in capillary permeability in rabbits and acute inflammation of ear tissue in mice. The aim in the present experiments was to learn if alpha-MSH peptides also antagonize inflammation in two additional models: acute edema induced in the mouse paw and contact sensitivity. Significant anti-inflammatory effects were observed with MSH peptides in both models. These findings converge with previous results to indicate that alpha-MSH peptides modulate inflammation. Because circulating alpha-MSH increases after treatment of animals with endogenous pyrogen or endotoxin, administration of the peptides may simply mimic a naturally occurring modulation of host defense reactions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Dermatitis, Contact / prevention & control*
  • Dinitrofluorobenzene
  • Edema / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Immunity, Cellular / drug effects*
  • Inflammation / prevention & control
  • Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones / analogs & derivatives*
  • Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Fragments / pharmacology*


  • Peptide Fragments
  • N-acetyllysyl-prolyl-valinamide
  • MSH (11-13)
  • Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormones
  • Dinitrofluorobenzene