Alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone: an emerging anti-inflammatory antimicrobial peptide

Biomed Res Int. 2014:2014:874610. doi: 10.1155/2014/874610. Epub 2014 Jul 23.


The alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) is a neuropeptide belonging to the melanocortin family. It is well known for its anti-inflammatory and antipyretic effects and shares several characteristics with antimicrobial peptides (AMPs). There have been some recent reports about the direct antimicrobial activity of α-MSH against various microbes belonging to both fungal and bacterial pathogens. Similar to α-MSH's anti-inflammatory properties, its C-terminal residues also exhibit antimicrobial activity parallel to that of the entire peptide. This review is focused on the current findings regarding the direct antimicrobial potential and immunomodulatory mechanism of α-MSH and its C-terminal fragments, with particular emphasis on the prospects of α-MSH based peptides as a strong anti-infective agent.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Antifungal Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antifungal Agents / chemistry
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / administration & dosage*
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / chemistry
  • Candida albicans / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Neuropeptides / administration & dosage*
  • Neuropeptides / chemistry
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • alpha-MSH / administration & dosage*
  • alpha-MSH / chemistry


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antifungal Agents
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Neuropeptides
  • alpha-MSH