Peptides Melanotan 2 and PT-141: A Comparison
- An overview of what peptides are, their benefits, and comparisons
- A breakdown of Melanotan 2 and how it works
- Learn about what makes PT-141 different and how it compares to Melanotan 2
- Dive into the safety and efficacy between the two peptides
- How to choose which one is more viable for your research
Peptides are an essential part of necessary functions used by every living creature. They are made of short amino acid chains that link via peptide bonds – not to be confused with long amino acid chains, as those pertain to proteins .
Synthetic peptides, in addition to being naturally occurring, have become an increasing interest for research purposes.
The health benefits of naturally occurring peptides are well known in the research community, which has led researchers to study the possibilities of synthetic peptides as well .
Some known benefits of peptides include improvements in anti-aging, cellular function, accelerated recovery, and much more .
Melanotan 2 and PT-141 are peptides with unique benefits and potential pros and cons. Melanotan 2 research has shown that it can offer a wide range of benefits, such as compulsive behavior and assistance with addiction control .
Researchers have also found that PT-141 could be a viable solution for sexual disorders and central nervous system stimulation .
These two peptides have similarities as well as their own unique benefits. This guide will serve to highlight the similarities and differences between Melanotan 2 and PT-141, what they each have to offer, and how they stack up against each other.
What Is Melanotan 2?
Melanotan 2, a synthetic version of a stimulating hormone, is a peptide that can offer a wide variety of benefits and use cases.
Research has indicated that the peptide can improve skin pigmentation, aid receptor expression, and help manage impulse control and addiction .
This merely scratches the surface of what Melanotan 2 can bring to the table. It’s a widely adaptable peptide that research has indicated may help to manage many common health concerns.
As research on this synthetic peptide continues to expand, new benefits will likely continue to arise. The following is a breakdown of some of the benefits research has shown Melanotan 2 has to offer .
Improving Skin Pigmentation
Melanotan 2 has been shown to positively affect the production of melanin, which can impact skin pigmentation. This peptide, in short, is able to help tan the skin without the need for repeated sun or UV exposure .
Melanotan 2 accomplishes this by primarily binding to melanocortin receptors MC-1R and MC-4R. This is also true for MC-3R, just to a lesser degree. These are three of the five melanocortin receptors in humans .
MC-1R is a core aspect of darkening skin pigmentation, in addition to the production of melanin. It’s also important to note that the long-term side effects of Melanotan 2 aren’t well understood at this time .
This is where MC-3R comes in. MC-3R is the melanocortin receptor that’s directly involved in appetite suppression, as well as impulse control, which can have a significant impact on how humans manage their appetite .
This peptide, in other words, can be especially helpful for individuals who suffer from appetite management. Research shows that Melanotan 2 impacts the suppression of appetite, which could be helpful for those looking to change their diet and weight .
Managing Libido and Erectile Dysfunction
One of the main correlations between Melanotan 2 vs. PT-141 is regarding sexual wellness. Studies of Melanotan 2 have indicated an efficacy of 80% in treating erectile dysfunction in comparison to other medications or treatments .
Melanotan 2 has also been shown to help improve libido in men and women alike. Expanding research offers the possibility for more applications based on the peptide’s actions within the central nervous system when compared to standard erectile dysfunction compounds [6,8].
These are just a handful of the benefits that have come to light through years of research on Melanotan 2. Continue reading for a more detailed look at the research into how PT-141 benefits different aspects of sexual health in humans.
What Is PT-141?
The PT-141 peptide, also known as bremelanotide, focuses on activating MC-4R, and, like Melanotan 2, this peptide stimulates the central nervous system and features benefits regarding sexual wellness and arousal .
It’s important to highlight that PT-141 can help with sexual disorders that don’t pertain to blood flow restriction. Through binding to MC-4R, PT-141 can improve symptoms stemming from erectile and sexual dysfunction .
These key points indicate that Melanotan 2 vs. PT-141 have some similarities, as research has discovered, yet they have their own unique approach through different melanocortin receptors.
Studies of PT-141 have shown it to be quite helpful for men and women experiencing low libido. PT-141 binds to MC-4R, which can increase sexual arousal. This is a slightly different approach than that of Melanotan 2 [2,6].
Recent clinical trials show that around one-third of males have benefitted from the administration of PT-141. In this same group of participants, the males that had a positive response to the peptide saw no benefit from traditional medications for erectile dysfunction .
Specific improvements included an increase in blood flow, sexual desire, as well as overall dysfunction from a sexual and erectile standpoint .
One-third may not seem like an effective outcome, but compared to traditional treatments that didn’t work, PT-141 is a viable candidate for further research .
Sexual Dysfunction in Women
Many of the benefits shown in men have also shown to benefit women. PT-141 therapy is able to make improvements by focusing on the nervous system, which is possible with men and women .
They may experience sexual dysfunction in their own unique way, and many women struggle with the effectiveness of traditional medications. The administration of PT-141 has delivered positive results for women going through various forms of sexual dysfunction .
Additional research is underway to fully understand the potential benefits of both Melanotan 2 and PT-141. The same goes for side effects, but it also begs the question: which peptide is best regarding their similar use cases?
Melanotan 2 vs PT-141
Researchers are comparing Melanotan 2 vs. PT-141 to discern the efficacy of each in addition to the studies that focus on each peptide’s benefits individually.
This article has highlighted a wide variety of benefits, but it’s equally crucial to review the potential downsides.
Some side effects of Melanotan 2 can include :
- Decreased appetite
- Stomach cramps
PT-141 also has its pros and cons. It’s known that nausea is one of the most common side effects of both peptides, but a few are rare and specific to PT-141 :
- Irregular heartbeat
- Blurred vision
These are quite uncommon side effects, but they are indicative of why more research is needed to understand what these synthetic peptides are capable of. One example would be that there isn’t a great deal of research on the long-term side effects of Melanotan 2 .
How to Choose
Researchers must decide where to focus their efforts when looking at the specifics of Melanotan 2 vs. PT-141. A good starting point would be to consider the purpose of use.
What health benefits are you looking to study, and how many potential applications does the peptide have?
This isn’t to say that both peptides don’t have viability, but there’s a chance one could support more health benefits with fewer side effects, depending on the need and desired outcome.
Another factor that must be considered is that the FDA does not currently approve these peptides. Both Melanotan 2 and PT-141 should only be for research purposes, as there are quite a few uncertainties scientists must continue to unravel before they are approved by the FDA.
Researchers continue to study Melanotan 2 and PT-141, and although the potential benefits are exciting, additional research is crucial.
This is especially true as long-term results aren’t yet well understood, and side effects may vary dramatically depending on use cases.
Melanotan II (MT2) and PT-141 have been extensively researched for their potential in treating sexual dysfunction and enhancing sexual desire. MT2, an analog of alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone, has been shown to stimulate melanocortin receptors in the central nervous system and increase skin pigmentation .
In clinical trials, MT2 has exhibited efficacy in improving erectile function and increasing spontaneous erections in men with erectile dysfunction .
On the other hand, PT-141, a derivative of MT2, directly targets melanocortin receptors in the brain. It is being studied to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder and its effect on sexual arousal in premenopausal women .
PT-141 has also demonstrated positive effects on sexual behavior and performance in male rats . Unlike Viagra, PT-141 is not solely focused on the vascular system but acts centrally, bypassing the blood-brain barrier to directly increase sexual desire .
Its mechanism of action involves stimulating melanocortin receptors and increasing nitric oxide production, leading to improved blood flow and penile erection .
Notably, PT-141 has a relatively long half-life and can be administered as a nasal spray, making it a convenient option for clinical use .
Although initial testing shows significant increases in sexual activity, further research is needed to establish its safety and efficacy, especially regarding potential side effects and long-term use .
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Scientific Research & References:
1. Stephen H. King, Alexander V. Mayorov, Preeti Balse-Srinivasan, Victor J. Hruby, Todd W. Vanderah, and Hunter Wessells (June 10th, 2009) Melanocortin Receptors, Melanotropic Peptides, and Penile Erection. National Library of Medicine. PMCID: PMC2694735
2. P B Molinoff, A M Shadiack, D Earle, L E Diamond, C Y Quon (June 2003) PT-141: a melanocortin agonist for the treatment of sexual dysfunction. National Library of Medicine. PMID: 12851303
3. Mihajlo Todorovic, David M. Perrin (May 28th, 2020) Chapter Fourteen – FlICk (fluorescent isoindole crosslinking) for peptide stapling. ScienceDirect. Department of Chemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
4. Erak M, Bellmann-Sickert K, Els-Heindl S, Beck-Sickinger AG. Peptide chemistry toolbox – Transforming natural peptides into peptide therapeutics. Bioorg Med Chem. 2018 Jun 1;26(10):2759-2765. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2018.01.012. Epub 2018 Jan 31. PMID: 29395804.
5. Acosta, M. C., Manubay, J., & Levin, F. R. (2008). Pediatric obesity: parallels with addiction and treatment recommendations. Harvard review of psychiatry, 16(2), 80-96.
6. Mir, J., & Munárriz, R. (2008). Central nervous system agents for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Textbook of Erectile Dysfunction, 296-300.
7. Wu, Q., Chen, J., Hua, T., & Cai, J. (2023). Alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone-mediated appetite regulation in the central nervous system. Neuroendocrinology, 1-1.
8. Peak, T. C., Yafi, F. A., Sangkum, P., & Hellstrom, W. J. (2015). Emerging drugs for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Expert Opinion on Emerging Drugs, 20(2), 263-275.
9. Brant, W. O., Bella, A. J., & Lue, T. F. (2007). Treatment options for erectile dysfunction. Endocrinology and metabolism clinics of North America, 36(2), 465-479.
10. Habbema, L., Halk, A. B., Neumann, M., & Bergman, W. (2017). Risks of unregulated use of alpha‐melanocyte‐stimulating hormone analogues: a review. International Journal of Dermatology, 56(10), 975-980.
11. Hawksworth, D. J., & Burnett, A. L. (2015). Pharmacotherapeutic management of erectile dysfunction. Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 98(6), 602-610.
12. Patel, C. K., & Bennett, N. (2016). Advances in the treatment of erectile dysfunction: what’s new and upcoming?. F1000Research, 5.
13. Diamond, L. E., Earle, D. C., Heiman, J. R., Rosen, R. C., Perelman, M. A., Harning, R., & Bolstad, J. (2006). An effect on the subjective sexual response in premenopausal women with sexual arousal disorder by bremelanotide (PT-141), a melanocortin receptor agonist. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 3(4), 628-638.
14. Pfaus, J., Giuliano, F., & Gelez, H. (2007). Bremelanotide: an overview of preclinical CNS effects on female sexual function. The journal of sexual medicine, 4(Supplement_4), 269-279.
15. Ückert, S., Bannowsky, A., Albrecht, K., & Kuczyk, M. A. (2014). Melanocortin receptor agonists in the treatment of male and female sexual dysfunctions: results from basic research and clinical studies. Expert opinion on investigational drugs, 23(11), 1477-1483.
16. Ellacott, K. L., & Cone, R. D. (2006). The role of the central melanocortin system in the regulation of food intake and energy homeostasis: lessons from mouse models. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 361(1471), 1265-1274.
17. Wessells, H., Fuciarelli, K., Hansen, J., Hadley, M. E., & Hruby, V. J. (2000). Synthetic melanotropic peptide initiates erections in men with psychogenic erectile dysfunction: double-blind, placebo controlled crossover study. Journal of Urology, 163(2), 460-463.
18. Dhillon, S., & Keam, S. J. (2019). Bremelanotide: first approval. Drugs, 79(14), 1599-1606.
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