Although often referred to under the general term of Melanotan peptides, it is important to realize that most research, especially in the last few years, has focused on just one of those peptides, Melanotan ll. It is easy to see how the confusion can occur since the first peptide developed was Melanotan l and they were initially designed by the same group and for the same purpose.
A Brief History
The Melanotan peptides were developed by the University of Arizona as part of a study to attempt to prevent skin cancer from UV exposure. Naturally the skin produces dark pigments for protection, so synthetic peptides were developed to allow natural levels of peptides to increase in duration as well as effect.
Melanotan l, the first of the Melanotan peptides, showed a great deal of promise in lab animals and also helped with fatty tissue metabolism and showed a strong increase in sexual libido in some test animals. The second of the Melanotan peptides, Melanotan ll, increased the actual response of the skin pigment as it had more receptors that could bind with other cells, rather than the more limited number of receptors found on the first synthetic peptide in this group.
How They Work
The Melanotan peptides both work by impacting the functioning of a small pea-sized gland in the base of the brain. This is the pituitary gland it is sort of like a general control mechanism for many body functions. This includes controlling and regulating temperature, cellular and body growth as well as a master control for the thyroid gland.
The pituitary also releases several hormones that control virtually all aspects of metabolism. One of these is known as melacortin, and it is released when there is exposure to UV light. This, in turn, causes melanogenisis, or the production of dark pigments that are essential in blocking the damage done to the skin by the sun at a cellular level.
By injecting test animals with Melanotan peptides researchers could trigger this cycle without the need for any UV light exposure of the animal. The result is that the animal’s skin pigments were developed without the need for the risky UV exposure, providing protection even before any damage could be done to the skin.