Research suggests that both Melanotan 1 (MT1) and Melanotan 2 (MT2) are artificial versions of the naturally occurring hormone alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (a-MSH). Let’s take a look at studies and development.
The binding of both peptides to melanocortin receptors results in several intriguing side effects. Research shows it is important to observe that MT1 and MT2 influence melanin production and, by extension, skin color. In addition to influencing sexual desire and performance, these factors influence eating habits, blood pressure, the nervous system, and self-control. Unsurprisingly, questions about Melanotan 1 vs. 2 are frequently asked, given how functionally identical they are. Because, despite their similarities, Melanotan 1 and 2 are distinguished by several key distinctions, we now compare and contrast these two peptides.
Studies reveal that due to its greater similarity to a-MSH than MT2, MT1 can preserve more of its progenitor molecule’s characteristics, especially color-related ones. Melanotan 1 and 2 are structurally similar, but the former has higher receptor binding strengths. Even though Melanotan 1 and Melanotan 2 attach to melanocortin receptors, their effects vary, as clinical trials show. The total effects of these peptides are changed because of their distinct binding preferences.
Melanotan 1 and Melanotan 2 Receptor Interaction
Research shows Melanotan 1 and 2 are not particularly selective as ligands of numerous melanocortin receptors. Both peptides attach to melanocortin receptors all over the body, though their affinities for MC1R (melanocortin 1 receptor), MC3R, MC4R, and MC5R differ. It’s worth noting that neither has much taste for MC2, which regulates HPA gland hormone production, according to research.
As per findings, what distinguishes Melanotan 1 from MT2 is that MT2 has a heightened affinity for the MC4 receptor, whereas melanocortin 1 maintains an a-increased MSH affinity for the MC1R. This indicates that Melanotan 2 has greater sexual effects, including penile performance and sexual excitation, while Melanotan 1 has bigger coloring effects.
Of course, Melanotan 1 and 2 are not identical, and their variations extend beyond their main receptor associations. The MC5 receptor, which is located on pancreas islet cells, is where Melanotan 1 has a major impact, according to studies. Research has shown that activating the MC5R improves fatty acid metabolism, which could assist in weight loss [i]. Instead, Melanotan 2 has substantial impacts on the MC3 receptor. Despite lacking information, the MC3 receptor has been linked to some traits in subjects with autistic spectrum conditions. And indeed, studies on MT2 have shown that it can aid in overcoming the diminished social relations, reduced speech, and repetitious habits that characterize autism [ii].
In reality, before the discovery of melanocortin 1, the receptor communication pathway for melanocortin was completely new to scientists and thus poorly understood. This illustrates how even an unimportant finding can lead to a deeper knowledge of the body’s workings. With ongoing research, scientists are using the difference between Melanotan 1 and 2 to investigate the complexities of the melanocortin system and the part these receptors play in biology.
Melanotan 1 vs. Melanotan 2: Studies and Development
Melanocortins 1 and 2 have been studied with very distinct methods. MT2 was investigated as a medication option for female hypoactive sexual drive disease and male erectile dysfunction, while MT1 was created as a sunless tanning product and then abandoned for years. These variations in study paths reflect the peptides’ various melanocortin receptor binding strengths, as revealed by studies.
According to research, although MT1 was all but forgotten in the scientific community for a while, the peptide has recently grown in popularity. The University of Arizona is credited with developing Melanotan 1, which has been shown to increase melanin by as much as 75% and reduce the chance of burning by as much as 47%. These qualities initially led developers to believe that MT1 could shield subjects from the harmful impacts of prolonged exposure to UV light on the skin [iii]. Many factors contributed to the failure of this attempt to use Melanotan 1, and the peptide has since been abandoned for scientific study.
Treatment of test subjects with erythropoietic protoporphyria with MT1, also known as afamelanotide and marketed under the trade name SENESSE, is now authorized in Europe, Australia, and the United States. More than 900 test subjects have participated in 15 clinical studies of MT1 overseen by researchers, leading to over 200 published articles [iv]. Other types of porphyria, vitiligo, xeroderma pigmentosa, vascular ischemia stroke, and even young subjects are among the populations being studied. Dr. Philippe Wolgen claims that the company’s first MT1 patients were treated in April 2020.
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[i] C. L. Møller et al., “Characterization of murine melanocortin receptors mediating adipocyte lipolysis and examination of signalling pathways involved,” Mol. Cell. Endocrinol., vol. 341, no. 1–2, pp. 9–17, Jul. 2011, doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2011.03.010.
[ii] E. Minakova et al., “Melanotan-II reverses autistic features in a maternal immune activation mouse model of autism,” PloS One, vol. 14, no. 1, p. e0210389, 2019, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0210389.
[iii] R. T. Dorr et al., “Effects of a superpotent melanotropic peptide in combination with solar UV radiation on tanning of the skin in human volunteers,” Arch. Dermatol., vol. 140, no. 7, pp. 827–835, Jul. 2004, doi: 10.1001/archderm.140.7.827.
[iv] “Pharmaceutical Technology,” Clinuvel. https://www.clinuvel.com/pharmaceutical-technology/… (accessed Apr. 10, 2022).