Peripherally administered desacetyl alpha-MSH and alpha-MSH both influence postnatal rat growth and associated rat hypothalamic protein expression. Academic Article uri icon


  • Desacetyl alpha-MSH predominates over alpha-MSH during development, but whether it is biologically active and has a physiological role is unclear. We compared the effects of 0.3 microg.g(-1).day(-1) desacetyl alpha-MSH with that of 0.3 microg.g(-1).day(-1) alpha-MSH on postnatal body growth by administering the peptides subcutaneously daily for postnatal days 0-14 and also used a two-dimensional gel electrophoresis gel-based proteomic approach to analyze protein changes in hypothalami, the relay center for body weight and growth regulation, after 14 days of treatment. We found that the growth rate between days 1 and 10 was significantly decreased by desacetyl alpha-MSH but not by alpha-MSH, but by day 14, a time reported for development of a mature pattern of hypothalamic innervation, both peptides had significantly increased neonatal growth compared with PBS-treated control rats. Desacetyl alpha-MSH significantly increased spleen weight, but alpha-MSH had no effect. alpha-MSH significantly decreased kidney weight, but desacetyl alpha-MSH had no effect. Both desacetyl alpha-MSH and alpha-MSH significantly decreased brain weight. By 14 days, both peptides significantly changed expression of a number of hypothalamic proteins, specifically metabolic enzymes, cytoskeleton, signaling, and stress response proteins. We show that peripherally administered desacetyl alpha-MSH is biologically active and induces responses that can differ from those for alpha-MSH. In conclusion, desacetyl alpha-MSH appears to be an important regulator of neonatal rat growth.

published proceedings

  • Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab

author list (cited authors)

  • Wu, C., Greenwood, D. R., Cooney, J. M., Jensen, D. J., Tatnell, M. A., Cooper, G., & Mountjoy, K. G.

citation count

  • 2

complete list of authors

  • Wu, Chia-Shan Jenny||Greenwood, David R||Cooney, Janine M||Jensen, Dwayne J||Tatnell, Michele A||Cooper, Garth JS||Mountjoy, Kathleen G

publication date

  • December 2006