The Potential Application of Melanotropin Ligands for the Treatment of Obesity and Related Disorders: Potential and Problems
Pp. 161-181 (21)
Victor J. Hruby and Minying Cai
Considerable scientific evidence has been obtained that suggests that the
melanocortin 3 and melanocortin 4 receptors are critically involved in energy balance
and feeding behavior in animals, including humans. The natural ligands for these
receptors are processed products of the gene pro-opiomelanocortin (POMC) and include
α-, β- and γ- melanocyte stimulating hormones and possibly other POMC products.
Hence, it has been postulated that selective agonists and antagonists might serve as
drugs for the treatment of feeding disorders. At the same time, it was found that
melanotropin peptides can have other biological activities related to the MC3R and
MC4R, and that some of these activities, such as blood pressure changes, need to be
modulated in order to be useful drugs without unwarranted side effects. Current
progress in these efforts will be discussed along with possible new directions that might
be useful in these important areas of biology and medicine.
AGRP, anorexia, melanocortin genes, melanotropin peptides, MC3R.
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA.