The natural melanocortic peptides are known to exert a variety of effects after central administration. Recently, we discovered the first potent and selective substances for the MC4 receptor, i.e. HS964 and HS014. We found HS964 to be an antagonist for the MC1, MC3, MC4 and MC5 receptors in vitro. HS014 is an antagonist for the MC3 and MC4 receptors and a partial antagonist for the MC1 and MC5 receptors. We injected α-MSH and these substances, both intracerebroventricular (ICV) and in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) in rats and scored several behavioural effects. The results show that α-MSH caused intensive grooming which was antagonized by pre-treatment of both HS014 and HS964. The data give further support to the hypothesis that it is the MC4 receptor which mediates grooming in rodents. The grooming effects of α-MSH were more pronounced after intra-VTA administration compared to the ICV administration. Both α-MSH, HS014 and HS964 caused an increase in vertical activity of the rats after intra-VTA administration but not after ICV administration. Horizontal activity was virtually not affected by the administration of the peptides. The data indicate that the neural MC3 and MC4 receptors are not likely to be an important mediators of locomotor activity in rats.
Field of Science*
- 3.1 Basic medicine
- 3.2 Clinical medicine
- 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database