Melanotan 2 (also referred to as Melanotan II) is a synthetically produced variant of a peptide hormone naturally produced in the body that stimulates melanogenesis, a process responsible for pigmentation of the skin. This peptide hormone, called alpha-Melanocyte stimulating hormone or MSH, activates certain melanocortin receptors in the process of exerting its effects. Indeed, MSH also exerts potent influence over lipid metabolism, appetite, and sexual libido via these melanocortin receptors. As a result, Melanotan 2 has been shown in studies to exhibit appetite suppressant, lipolytic, and libido-enhancing effects in addition to promoting skin tanning. Melanotan 2 has been researched extensively for use in protecting against the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation from sunlight due to its melanogenesis-stimulating properties.The Development of Melanotan 2The initial creation of the synthetic Melanotan 2 peptide can be credited to the University of Arizona. During the course of research aimed at developing a defense against skin cancer, focus was placed on developing a method of stimulating natural melanogenesis, or the natural production of melanin in the skin, without direct exposure to the potentially harmful ultraviolet radiation in sunlight. Initially, University of Arizona researchers attempted to directly administer the naturally occurring hormone alpha-MSH in order to elicit this desired result. Although this strategy exhibited promising results, it was determined that the naturally occurring MSH had a prohibitively short half-life to be of realistic use as a therapeutic remedy. However, the positive results gleaned from MSH administration encouraged further research into the development of Melanotan 1 and Melanotan 2, which exhibit similar effects whilst possessing an extended half-life for functional therapeutic utilization.

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