Melanocortins in brain inflammation: The role of melanocortin receptor subtypes

Ruta Muceniece, Maija Dambrova

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The melanocortins (MC) are released from neurons and paracrine cells in the CNS where they are involved in important physiological functions, including regulation of body temperature and immune responses. MC bind to melanocortin receptors, a class of cell surface G-protein-coupled receptors. Of the five subtypes of MC receptors that have been cloned in mammals, the MC1, MC 3, MC4 and MC5 receptors are expressed in brain tissues. Expression of MC receptors in both brain cells and cells of the immune system suggests direct involvement of MC in regulation of inflammatory processes in the brain. The binding of MC to MC receptors induces activation of adenylate cyclase, increase in intracellular cAMP level and, consequently, inhibition of the nuclear transcription factor kappaB (NF-?B) signalling. Inflammatory processes contribute to development of severe CNS diseases, both in acute and chronic conditions. Thus far, the anti-inflammatory effects of MC in the CNS have been mainly studied using peptides that are relatively unselective for individual MC receptor subtypes. Consequently, these studies do not allow identification of specific MC receptor(s) involved in the regulation of inflammatory processes. However, recently synthesized ligands selective for individual MC receptors indicated that both MC4 and MC3 agonists are promising anti-inflammatory agents in treatment of brain inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMelanocortins
Subtitle of host publicationMultiple Actions and Therapeutic Potential
EditorsAnna Catania
PublisherSpringer New York LLC
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4419-6354-3
ISBN (Print)9781441963536
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAdvances in Experimental Medicine and Biology
ISSN (Print)0065-2598

Field of Science*

  • 3.1 Basic medicine

Publication Type*

  • 3.1. Articles or chapters in proceedings/scientific books indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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