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FASEB J. 1989 Sep;3(11):2282-4.

Antiinflammatory activity of a COOH-terminal fragment of the neuropeptide alpha-MSH.

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Department of Physiology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75235.


The endogenous neuropeptide alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH 1-13), previously found to have marked antipyretic activity, inhibits histamine-induced increases in vasopermeability. The primary antipyretic amino acid message sequence is believed to be the COOH-terminal trieptide, lysine-proline-valine. In recent preliminary research this tripeptide inhibited increases in vasopermeability, raising the possibility that this portion of the alpha-MSH molecule has general antiinflammatory activity. To test this idea, the effects of graded doses of alpha-MSH [11-13] on ear swelling induced by picryl chloride in mice were compared with the effects of saline and a large dose of corticosteroid. Alpha-MSH [11-13] inhibited swelling in a dose-related fashion. This result, together with previous findings, suggests that endogenous circulating alpha-MSH and its COOH-terminal fragments may contribute to modulation of physiological responses in host defense. If this is true, it may be possible to develop new peptide drugs or mimetics based on the tripeptide that are useful in treating inflammation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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