New compounds having affinity to various melanocortin receptors have recently been identified as possible neuroprotective agents. This review is focused on the role of neuroprotective effects of melanocortins in CNS injury and repair mechanisms. Using selective non-peptidic compounds with varying affinity to melanocortin receptors, our laboratory has shown their anti-edematous effects in the spinal cord injury. This effect of the compounds is related with their ability to attenuate blood-spinal cord barrier permeability. The functional significance and possible therapeutic strategies of these compounds in CNS injury are discussed.
Keywords: Melanocortins, spinal cord injury, edema formation, cell injury, melanocortins receptor, blood-spinal cord barrier
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