A peptide that is responsible for the production of melanin in the body, Melanotan 2 was developed at the University of Arizona. This peptide works by stimulating the body to produce melanin results in an overall tan, without having to be exposed to sunlight. As tanning usually requires prolonged exposure to the sun’s dangerous ultraviolet rays, it has the potential to cause damage to cells. This peptide was thought of as a way to lessen the exposure to sun, thus preventing the damage that can happen from long term exposure to ultraviolet rays, such as cancerous mutation to skin cells.
Though producing a tan isn’t the only side effects this peptide has. In animal test subjects, it has been found to increase sexual arousal and fat loss. It has been shown to increase blood flow to the animal’s genitals, causing spontaneous erections. In order to keep the overall skin tone of the animal in test, a number of injections where required as the effects are not permanent and fade with time.
Synthesis of Melanotan 2
The peptide was created as an analog for a natural tanning hormone found in the body, Alpha-Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (alpha-MHS). It was created in an attempt to lower the risk of skin cancer from exposure to the sun, as a normal tan requires prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays. Once exposed, alpha-MSH causes the production of melanin from the cells in the skin called melanocytes. Melanotan 2 has shown to cause the release of melanin in test animals without the exposure to any type of ultraviolet ray, which has been shown to cause a number of health problems.
Mechanism of Melanotan 2
How Melanotan 2 works is, as a non-selective agonist, it acts on the melanocortin receptors. Specifically it activates the melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1), a G protein-coupled receptors, and causes melanogenesis by binding to melanocortins. This area is responsible for regulating skin and hair color. This allows Melanotan 2 to alter the pigment of the skin to make it appear darker. The results of this will fade over time once the Melanotan has left the system.
Side Effects of Melanotan 2
While the main purpose of Melanotan 2 was to cause a tan, there are a number of other effects it can have. Here are some of the side effects include but are not limited to:
- Stomach cramps
- Facial flushing
- Suppression of appetite
- Appearance of moles or the darkening of moles
- White patches
A common side effect researchers have seen with this peptide is the extreme darkening of freckles. In some cases the freckles have become so dark it might appear as though new ones have begun to formed. This, however, has been seen to fade over time in animal test subjects.
While some side effects of Melanotan 2 are known, more research is required to get a broader idea of what this peptide is capable of. One of these long term effects could be the potential to cause cancer due to the activation of the melanocytes. These types of cells are known to become cancerous in malignant melanoma.
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