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The distribution of melanin-concentrating hormone-like immunoreactivity was investigated by radioimmunoassay in the CNS of rat, guinea-pig, pig and man. Highest concentrations of melanin-concentrating hormone-like immunoreactivity were found in the hypothalamus of all the species: rat 204.4 +/- 14.9; guinea-pig 159.5 +/- 23.3; pig 10.9 +/- 4.5 and man 80.1 +/- 19.1 pmol/g. Gel chromatographic analysis of hypothalamic extracts showed five immunoreactive peaks of melanin-concentrating hormone-like immunoreactivity in the rat and pig and six in the guinea-pig and man. High-performance liquid chromatography analysis of hypothalamic extracts showed five immunoreactive peaks in rat, guinea-pig, pig and four in man. However, these peaks appeared at different retention times from that of the single peak of salmon melanin-concentrating hormone. Examination of subcellular fractions of whole rat brain showed that most of the melanin-concentrating hormone-like immunoreactivity is found in the synaptosome fraction. Stimulation of melanin-concentrating hormone-like immunoreactivity release from rat hypothalamic slices revealed that potassium in the presence of calcium stimulated melanin-concentrating hormone-like immunoreactivity release. These findings suggest that mammalian melanin-concentrating hormone-like immunoreactivity has a different amino acid sequence from salmon melanin-concentrating hormone and may exist in multiple molecular forms. It is possible that melanin-concentrating hormone may play a role as a neurotransmitter or modulator in the mammalian CNS.


Journal article



Publication Date





925 - 930


Adult, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Animals, Brain, Female, Guinea Pigs, Humans, Hypothalamic Hormones, Male, Melanins, Middle Aged, Pituitary Hormones, Radioimmunoassay, Rats, Rats, Inbred Strains, Spinal Cord, Subcellular Fractions