alpha-Melanocyte stimulating hormone inhibits tumour necrosis factor-alpha stimulated intercellular adhesion molecule-1 expression in normal cutaneous human melanocytes and in melanoma cell lines

Br J Dermatol. 1998 Mar;138(3):536-43. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2133.1998.02209.x.


alpha-Melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH) was found significantly to reduce tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) stimulated upregulation of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) in normal adult cutaneous melanocytes. The maximum inhibitory response to alpha-MSH was obtained at around 10(-10) mol/L alpha-MSH when cells were coincubated with alpha-MSH and TNF-alpha for 24 h. alpha-MSH had little or no effect on basal ICAM-1 expression in melanocytes and the effects of alpha-MSH could be mimicked with 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine (IBMX). Preliminary data in three human melanoma cell lines also showed alpha-MSH and forskolin to be effective in significantly reducing TNF-alpha stimulated ICAM-1 expression over 24 h. The extent of the inhibition varied from cell line to cell line and was greatest in those cells with the highest number of alpha-MSH receptors. These data suggest that alpha-MSH has the ability to oppose the action of the pro-inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha on melanocytes and melanoma cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1-Methyl-3-isobutylxanthine / pharmacology
  • Adult
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Colforsin / pharmacology
  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / metabolism*
  • Melanocytes / drug effects*
  • Melanocytes / immunology
  • Melanocytes / metabolism
  • Melanoma / immunology
  • Melanoma / metabolism*
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology
  • Up-Regulation
  • alpha-MSH / pharmacology*


  • Culture Media, Conditioned
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Colforsin
  • alpha-MSH
  • 1-Methyl-3-isobutylxanthine