The neuropeptide α-MSH has specific receptors on neutrophils and reduces chemotaxis in vitro

Anna Catania, Nilum Rajora, Franco Capsoni, Francesca Minonzio, Robert A. Star, James M. Lipton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

188 Scopus citations


The proopiomelanocortin-derived peptide α-melanocyte stimulating hormone (α-MSH) has potent anti-inflammatory effects in all animal models of inflammation against which it has been tested. Understanding of the mechanism by which this occurs is incomplete, although there is recent evidence for α-MSH receptors in murine and human macrophages and for modulation of production of proinflammatory cytokines and related mediators by α-MSH. Because of the prominence of neutrophils in early stages of inflammatory reactions where α-MSH is effective, we examined human neutrophils for evidence of mRNA for α-MSH receptors and for inhibition of neutrophil chemotaxis. There was accumulation of mRNA for melanocortin receptor 1 (MC1) in RT/PCR product from neutrophils stimulated with interferon and LPS. In subsequent studies α-MSH inhibited migration of neutrophils from most normal volunteers when the cells were placed in FMLP or IL-8 gradients. The inhibition by α-MSH could be traced to alterations in cAMP in neutrophils. The presence of α-MSH receptor message in neutrophils is consistent with the established anti-inflammatory effects of the peptide. Direct inhibition of neutrophil chemotaxis likely contributes to the anti-inflammatory activity of α-MSH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)675-679
Number of pages5
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1996


  • Cytokines
  • Inflammation
  • Melanocortin receptors
  • Neutrophil chemotaxis
  • α-MSH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Endocrinology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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