Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 284, Issue 7, pp 424–426 | Cite as

The expression of functional MSH receptors on cultured human melanocytes

  • P. D. Donatien
  • G. Hunt
  • C. Pieron
  • J. Lunec
  • A. TaÏeb
  • A. J. Thody
Original Contributions


Although α-MSH increases skin darkening in humans, there are several reports that it fails to have melanogenic effects on human melanocytes in vitro. The purpose of this study was to see whether cultured human melanocytes express MSH receptors. Human melanocytes were grown in the absence of artificial mitogens such as 12-O-tetradecanoyl phorbol-13-acetate (TPA) and cholera toxin (CT) and incubated for 2 h at room temperature with increasing amounts of 125I-labelled Nle4DPhe7-α-MSH with and without excess cold peptide. Binding was saturable and specific: Scatchard analysis gave a Kd of 4.9×10−11M and ~ 700 binding sites/cell. Human keratinocytes and fibroblasts showed no specific binding. The addition of 1 mM dibutyryl cAMP to the culture medium caused a 62% increase in MSH binding to human melanocytes. A smaller increase (25%) was seen with 10−9M CT while 25 mM TPA caused a 24% decrease. These results show that human melanocytes in culture express MSH receptors and that this expression can be modulated by mitogens.

Key words

Cell culture Melanocytes MSH receptors 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. D. Donatien
    • 1
  • G. Hunt
    • 1
  • C. Pieron
    • 2
  • J. Lunec
    • 2
  • A. TaÏeb
    • 3
  • A. J. Thody
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of DermatologyUniversity of Newcastle upon TyneNewcastle upon TyneUK
  2. 2.Cancer Research UnitUniversity of Newcastle upon TyneUK
  3. 3.Immunology LaboratoryUniversity of Bordeaux IIFrance

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