Afamelanotide (MT-1) Catalog Description (10mg)
Afamelanotide, also known by the name melanotan-1 (MT1) is a synthetic analog of alpha melanocyte stimulating hornone (a-MSH), formerly produced at University of Arizona and then for development commercially by Clinuvel Laboratories. Afamelanotide is known as a method of studying the melanocortin system, as well as a potent inducer of melanogenesis (skin pigmentation changes in both human and animal trials); other less known indications include for rare photosensitivity syndromes, repigmentation in pigmentation disorders, and possibly prevention of ultraviolet damage when taken prior to sun exposure.
Dorr et al (2004) studied afamelanotide and compared different doses or placebo across three groups as a UV protectant and UV reducing tanning aid and touted impressive results:
Tanning in the first study was achieved in 3 of 4 subjects receiving MT-1, and these subjects also had 47% fewer sunburn cells at the irradiated neck site. More skin sites darkened with the higher dose of MT-1 in the second study. In the third study, there was significantly enhanced tanning of the back in the MT-1 group, and this was maintained at least 3 weeks longer than the tanning in the sunlight-only controls, who required 50% more sun-exposure time for equivalent tanning
Those trials demonstrated distinctive effects of afamelanotide: less damage from UV radiation; darker tanning; and longer-lasting tanning, leading Dorr to state that
The intent of these studies was to examine whether MT-1 could be safely combined with small amounts of
UV-B. A secondary end point that was investigated was whether there was additive stimulation of pigmentation or an alteration in the biological response ofskin to UV-B, measured by the presence of sunburn cells..... Melanotan-1 can be safely combined with UV-B light or sunlight and appears to act synergistically in the tanning response to light.
However, the assistive property toward tanning is not the only way in which afamelanotide could prevent or heal damage. In addition to a general anti-inflammatory effect, MT1 exhibits an antioxidant effect that is likely from Nrf2. Afamelanotide has demonstrated anti-proliferative effects towards cancer cells in a lab dish, but results have not been replicated thus far in complex living systems .
Other effects attributed to afamelanotide include a slight reduction in appetite, changes in metabolic activity through the melanocortin system favoring fat loss, and increases in libido.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1999 Oct 20;885:117-33.The melanocortin-1 receptor and human pigmentation.Abdel-Malek Z1, Suzuki I, Tada A, Im S, Akcali C.
A Phase III, Multicentre, Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study to Confirm the Safety and Efficacy of Subcutaneous Bioresorbable Afamelanotide Implants in Patients With Erythropoietic Protoporphyria (EPP). ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier:NCT01605136a
Lim HW, et al. Afamelanotide and narrowband UV-B phototherapy for the treatment of vitiligo: a randomized multicenter trial. JAMA Dermatol. 2015 Jan;151(1):42-50.
Dorr et al. Effects of a Sueprpotent Melanotropic Peptide in Combination with Solar UV Radiation on Tanning of the Skin in Human Volunteers. Arch Dermatol. 2004;140(7):827-835.
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Hadley et al. The Melanotropic Peptide, [Nle4, d-Phe7]α-MSH, Stimulates Human Melanoma Tyrosinase Activity and Inhibits Cell Proliferation. Pigment Cell Research. Volume 8, Issue 6, pages 314–323, December 1995.
 Levine N, Sheftel SN, Eytan T; et al. (Nov 1991). "Induction of skin tanning by subcutaneous administration of a potent synthetic melanotropin". Journal of the American Medical Association, (JAMA) 266 (19): 2730–6.