The melanocortin system in leukocyte biology

Anna Catania

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The melanocortin system is composed of the melanocortin peptides, adrenocorticotropic hormone and α-, β-, and γ-melanocyte- stimulating hormone, the melanocortin receptors (MCRs), and the endogenous antagonists agouti- and agouti-related protein. Melanocortin peptides exert multiple effects upon the host, including anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. Leukocytes are a source of melanocortins and a major target for these peptides. Because of reduced translocation of the nuclear factor NF-κB to the nucleus, MCR activation by their ligands causes a collective reduction of the most important molecules involved in the inflammatory process. This review examines how melanocortin peptides and their receptors participate in leukocyte biology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)383-392
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Leukocyte Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2007


  • α-melanocyte-stimulating hormone
  • Adrenocorticotropic hormone
  • Melanocortin peptides
  • Melanocortin receptors
  • Neuroimmunomodulation
  • Nuclear factor-κB
  • Pro-opiomelanocortin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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