Multiple melanocortin receptors are expressed in bone cells

Qing Zhong, Supriya Sridhar, Ling Ruan, Kehong Ding, Ding Xie, Karl Insogna, Baolin Kang, Jianrui Xu, Roni Jacob Bollag, Carlos M Isales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Melanocortin receptors belong to the seven transmembrane domain, G-protein coupled family of receptors. There are five members of this receptor family labeled MC1R-MC5R. These receptors are activated by fragments derived from a larger molecule, proopiomelanocortin (POMC) and include ACTH, α β and γ-MSH and β-endorphin. Because of in vitro and in vivo data suggesting direct effects of these POMC molecules on bone and bone turnover, we examined bone and bone derived cells for the presence of the various members of the melanocortin receptor family. We report that the five known melanocortin receptors are expressed to varying degrees in osteoblast-like and osteoclastic cells. POMC fragments increased proliferation and expression of a variety of genes in osteoblastic cells. Furthermore, POMC mRNA was detected in osteoclastic cells. These data demonstrate that POMC-derived peptide hormones acting through high affinity melanocortin receptors have specific effects on bone cells. Thus, in addition to the indirect effects of POMC-derived hormones on bone turnover through their modulation of steroid hormone secretion, POMC fragments may have direct and specific effects on bone cell subpopulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)820-831
Number of pages12
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2005


  • ACTH
  • Alpha-MSH
  • Endorphin
  • POMC
  • Proliferation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Histology
  • Physiology


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