Neuroanatomical Structure of the MCH System

  • Jackson C. BittencourtEmail author
  • Giovanne B. Diniz


The mammalian melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) system has been studied for almost 30 years as of the writing of this chapter. The understanding of any neural system starts with its structure, as the anatomical organization of its peptides and receptors provides important clues about its physiological activity. With that in mind, the MCH system will be reviewed as a whole in the first segment of this chapter, including the genes and proteins that comprise this system. In the following segment, a description of the morphological and neurochemical characteristics of MCH neurons will be provided, including the areas in the central nervous system where these neurons are found and their projection pathways and targets. In the last segment, the receptors for MCH will be briefly discussed, and the available anatomical information about these receptors will be presented to the reader. By the end of this chapter, the reader should be able to identify the sites of MCH synthesis, the major targets of MCH action, and the areas responsive to MCH owing to the presence of its receptor.


Melanin-concentrating hormone Neuropeptide E-I NEI Melanin-concentrating hormone receptor MCHR1 MCHR2 Lateral hypothalamic area 

List of Abbreviations


Third ventricle


Third ventricle dorsal cap


Amino acid(s)


Anterior hypothalamic area


Atrial natriuretic peptide


Antisense-RNA-overlapping-MCH gene


Arginine vasopressin


Bed nucleus of the stria terminalis


Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript


Central nervous system


Corticotropin-releasing factor




Glutamate decarboxylase 67 kDa


G protein-coupled receptor


Internal capsule


Incertohypothalamic area


Interferon-gamma responsive element


Laterodorsal tegmental nucleus


Lateral hypothalamic area


Melanin-concentrating hormone (peptide)


Melanin-concentrating hormone receptor 1 (peptide)


Melanin-concentrating hormone receptor 1 (primate gene)


Melanin-concentrating hormone receptor 1 (rodent gene)


Melanin-concentrating hormone receptor 2 (peptide)


Melanin-concentrating hormone receptor 2 (primate gene)


Median eminence


Medial forebrain bundle


Mammillothalamic tract




Medial preoptic area


Neuropeptide glutamic acid-isoleucine


Neuropeptide glycine-glutamic acid


Neuropeptide Y


Optic tract


Open reading frame




Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide


Prohormone convertase(s)


Posterior hypothalamic area


Pro-melanin-concentrating hormone (rodent gene)


Pro-melanin-concentrating hormone (primate gene)


Pro-melanin-concentrating hormone linked gene 1 (chimeric gene)


Pro-melanin-concentrating hormone linked gene 2 (chimeric gene)


Paramedian pontine reticular formation


Prepro-melanin-concentrating hormone


Paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus


Rapid eye movement sleep


Subcoeruleus/sublaterodorsal nucleus


Somatostatin-like coupled receptor 1, same as MCHR1


Substance P


Somatostatin receptor(s)




Tuberomammillary nucleus, dorsomedial part


Olfactory tubercle


Immunoreactive to X


Zona incerta


α-Melanocyte-stimulating hormone



The writing of this chapter would not be possible without the funding granted by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo [São Paulo Research Foundation—FAPESP], grants #2010/52068-0 and #2016/02224-1 [JCB] and #2016/02748-0 [GBD]. JCB is also a recipient of a grant from the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Ensino Superior [Agency for the Advancement of Higher Education] and the Comité Français d’Evaluation de la Coopération Universitaire avec le Brésil [French Committee for the Evaluation of Academic and Scientific Cooperation with Brazil], CAPES-COFECUB grant #848/15. JCB is an investigator with the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico [National Council for Scientific and Technological Development—CNPq, Brazil], recipient of grant #426378/2016-4.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Chemical Neuroanatomy, Department of Anatomy, Institute of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of Sao PauloSao PauloBrazil
  2. 2.Centre for Neuroscience and Behavior, Institute of PsychologyUniversity of Sao PauloSao PauloBrazil

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