Melanotan 2 is a synthetic analog of the alpha melanocyte stimulating hormone that the body uses to make the skin tan. This mechanism is designed to protect the skin from UV rays, when exposed to sunlight. The synthetic version of this chemical was largely developed with potential uses in cosmetic applications, in the hope that a pill could be used to make skin tan. Currently this product is not approved for use in humans, given the high risk of side effects.
Melanotan was first developed at the University of Arizona as part of a clinical trial, addressing the risks and potential treatments for skin cancer. It was believed that making the skin darker on command could assist with protecting the skin from damage that eventually led to this disease. A multitude of chemicals was developed for clinical research into this goal, but melanotan II was ultimately selected, because it was the most stable option.
Unabated Anorexic and Enhanced Thermogenic Responses
Chronic activation of central melanocortin systems, using melaotan 2, was measured by assessing the reactions of high-fat chow fed Sprague-Dawley rats.
These rats were given central infusions of melanotan 2 six times a day. The visceral adiposity and body weight of these rats was then compared against people with ad libitum fed control groups and pair fed groups. These were also compared against groups that were given a suppressed caloric intake.
The groups exposed to melanotan 2 saw an induced and sustained increase in their oxygen consumption but the DIO groups saw a delayed response, particularly in CH rats.
These rats also saw serum insulin and cholesterol levels drop, in comparison to control groups.
Comparing results indicates that melanotan 2 stimulated thermo-genesis that can be sustained in DIO rats. This can also increase catabolism in the muscles of these animals, to crease an improved cholesterol and glucose mechanism.
Enhancing Prospective Sexual Behaviors
It is generally believed that melanocortins have a role in sexual behavior in both genders.
This experiment worked to explain the effects of melanotan 2 on stimulating hormones, responsible for consummatory and appetitive effects of female sexual behavior of rats. This includes hops and darts, solicitations, pacing or ear wiggling.
One group of rats was given an estradiol benzonate solution, while others were administered progesterone. Mating tests were performed with males that had sexual experience in chambers with holes where only the female rat could pass through. All females received three treatments with their respective treatments along with melanotan 2 which was injected 10 minutes before each test.
Those exposed to estradiol benzonate alone did not see any effect from the melanotan 2, which suggests that progesterone may interact with melanotan 2, to create the desire in females.
Hops and darts are considered solicitations to rats, which imply that the female desires the male for intromissions or mounting. This data also suggests that activating melanocortin receptors could assist women rats that have limited sexual desire. Similar studies were performed on male rats, to determine the effects of melanotan 2 on eliciting erectile behavior in males.
Melanotan 2 was applied to the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus in anaesthetized male rats. This effect was found to create erectile behavior, even in test subjects where the pelvic nerves or dorsal penile nerves were impaired. This implies that peripheral melanocortin pathways are an inducer and facilitator of erections.
Melanotan II is currently licensed and patented through the technology transfer company as a peptide. There are a number of companies that in turn develop this product into a chemical that can be sold for research purposes. Research grade melanotan II that is designed for use in live animal subjects will be specifically noted on the label.