Melanotan 2 was developed to act as a synthetic forms that would mimic the effects of the natural melanocortin peptide hormone as well as alpha melanocyte stimulating hormone. The synthesized version of the hormone was developed to act as a cyclic lactam forms of the original hormone when applied to animal test subject’s tissue.
- This is developed in mammal’s skin to produce the process of melanogenesis, which is commonly known as tanning. Research has also indicated that the natural form of this peptide can have an aphrodisiac effect, though the research for this has not passed preliminary study at this point.
Melanotan 2 was initially developed with the intention of using it to help the body defend against skin cancer, as developing a tan is known to offer additional protection from the sun to animals. It was proposed that controlling the natural pigment development in the skin before being exposed to UV rays could help improve the safety of activities that required this.
The body will naturally produce a-MSH to help control melanogenesis that will darken the pigment of skin cells for this purpose, so researchers attempted to create a synthetic forms that could be used to create these results on demand. They also hoped to crease a version of this chemical that was shelf stable so it could have a future in pharmaceutical applications. The development of this formula is still underway.
Additional Uses and Reactions
As research into the potential functionality of the current formula for Melanotan 2 continue, researchers have discovered different uses for the chemical.
The main use of melanotan is to create a tanning effect on the skin. This was originally designed to help protect the body from skin cancer, but research is still inconclusive as to whether or not these effects are successful in increasing this safety.
Much of the difficulty in determining these results is due to the nature of the test subjects that must be used for research. Many laboratories use animals such as mice for research into the effects of melanotan, and the fur on these animals typically causes their skin to react to UV light differently than a human’s might, which could impact the validity of test results.
Some research using male rats has indicated that melanotan 2 could have effects which could help to manage erectile dysfunction.
Animals that have been exposed to melanotan 2 have been known to show side effects. These may include darkened skin, spontaneous erections, fatigue, flushing, decreased appetite, uncontrollable yawning and stomach cramps. These side effects are driving much of the reasoning that melanotan 2 is not yet ready for application in human test subjects.
Harnessing the Potential for Managing Sexual Dysfunction
Since research has indicated that melanotan could assist with male sexual disfunction, bremelanotide was developed to further exploit these effects.
- Palatin Technologies created a version of melanotan 2 once named PT-141 but currently badged as bremelanotide which removed the C-terminal amide function to further exploit the sexual reactions the chemical produces.
- Clinical trials on rats are currently being used to determine if this chemical could manage erectile dysfunction in males or sexual arousal disorder in both sexes. Preliminary animal research has indicated that there is efficiency in the function of this drug which could produce these results.
The main problem showcased in animal test subjects is that PT-141 also creates an increase in blood pressure which has caused research into these effects to be suspended until the formula can be altered. A compound known as PL-6983 is currently in development which will address the potential dangers associated with this chemical.
Currently there are no compounds that have incorporated melanotan 2 that have been approved for use in humans, so all information about this peptide stems from animal applications in chemical trials. There are some powders claiming to contain this peptide on the internet, but these are generally believed to be forgeries and unsafe for use so these should not be considered a cost effective source for researchers to continue their study of this peptide.
The most common version of melanotan 2 that is produced for research purposes is afamelanotide which is produced by Clinuvel Pharmaceuticals, and is generally considered to be one of the only forms of this peptide that are suitable for research applications.