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Characterization of melanin-concentrating hormone in chum salmon pituitaries


Many lower vertebrates exhibit colour change in response to the background. A dual hormonal control of colour change by two antagonistic pituitary melanophorotropic hormones was first postulated in amphibia by Hogben and Slome1. It is well established that the melanotropins α- and β-MSH are responsible for pigment dispersion in the integumentary melanophore of lower vertebrates and that these molecules are derived from a common precursor protein, proopiocortin, by specific processing within the intermediate lobe2. No evidence has been found for an antagonistic hormone in amphibia, although the existence of such a molecule in the pituitary gland of teleost fishes has long been recognized and was termed the melanophore-concentrating hormone by Enami3. Early attempts4,5 to separate the two hormones proved unsuccessful. Recently, Baker and Ball6 re-invoked the dual hormone concept, and it has been suggested7 that a melanin-concentrating hormone (MCH) is synthesized in the hypothalamus of teleosts and stored and released by the neurohyphophysis. We have now isolated a novel peptide from the pituitary of the salmon (Oncorhynchus keta) possessing an antagonistic function to MSH, and we describe here its chemical and biological characteristics.

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Kawauchi, H., Kawazoe, I., Tsubokawa, M. et al. Characterization of melanin-concentrating hormone in chum salmon pituitaries. Nature 305, 321–323 (1983).

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