Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle (JCSM) - Online First - Abstract

The melanocortin receptor type 3 agonist d-Trp(8)-γMSH decreases inflammation and muscle wasting in arthritic rats

Ana Belen Gómez-SanMiguel, Ana Isabel Martín, María Paz Nieto-Bona, Carmen Fernández-Galaz, María Ángeles Villanúa, Asunción López-Calderón


Chronic inflammatory diseases induce cachexia that increases mortality and morbidity of the illness. Adjuvant-induced arthritis is an experimental model of rheumatoid arthritis that is associated with body weight loss and muscle wasting. Alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone has an anti-inflammatory effect in arthritic rats and decreases muscle wasting. The aim of this work was to elucidate whether the anti-cachectic action of alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone is mediated by the melanocortin receptor type 3 pathway.


Arthritis was induced in male Wistar rats by intradermal injection of Freund's adjuvant, and 6 days afterwards, arthritic rats were injected with the selective melanocortin receptor type 3 agonist d-Trp(8)-gammaMSH ( d-Trp(8)-γMSH) 500 µg/kg subcutaneously. or saline twice a day, for 10 days.


d-Trp(8)-γMSH decreased the external signs of inflammation and body weight loss, but it was not able to modify the anorexigenic effect of arthritis or the increase in hypothalamic cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression. In contrast, d-Trp(8)-γMSH prevented arthritis-induced increase in hypothalamic IL-1β and serum corticosterone levels and the decrease in serum IGF-I levels. d-Trp(8)-γMSH treatment also prevented arthritis-induced NF-kB(p65) phosphorylation and tumour necrosis factor-α mRNA increase in the gastrocnemius. d-Trp(8)-γMSH administration to arthritic rats increased gastrocnemius mass, its cross-sectional area, and mean fast fibre area. Those effects of d-Trp(8)-γMSH were associated with a decreased expression of atrogin-1 and muscle ring-finger protein-1 in the gastrocnemius. In rats treated with saline, arthritis increased the expression of autophagy marker genes LC3b, Bnip-3, and Gabarap1 as well as the conversion of LC3b I to LC3b II by lipidation in the gastrocnemius. d-Trp(8)-γMSH decreased gastrocnemius LC3b, Bnip-3, and Gabarap1 mRNA expression and prevented the increase in LC3b II in arthritic rats.


These data suggest that d-Trp(8)-γMSH administration prevents the effect of arthritis on corticosterone and insulin-like growth factor-I serum levels and decreases muscle wasting, by down-regulating atrogenes and autophagy through modifying the NF-kB(p65)/tumour necrosis factor-α signalling transduction pathway.


Gómez-SanMiguel, A. B., Martín, A. I., Nieto-Bona, M. P., Fernández-Galaz, C., Villanúa, M. Á., and López-Calderón, A. (2015), The melanocortin receptor type 3 agonist d-Trp(8)-γMSH decreases inflammation and muscle wasting in arthritic rats. Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle, 7: 7989. doi: 10.1002/jcsm.12036.