Pituitary control of pigmentation has been known for more than 60 years. Since 1969, β-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (β-MSH) has been accepted as the main pituitary pigmentary hormone in man. Its "constant companionship" with adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) has also been repeatedly demonstrated. Current investigations challenge both of these concepts. Human β-MSH immunoreactivity has been shown to be actually due to β-lipotropic hormone (β-LPH), a larger molecule that within itself contains the entire amino acid sequence of β-MSH. Human β-MSH does not exist in vivo; it is merely an extraction artifact formed by enzymatic degradation of β-LPH. It would appear likely that β-LPH, not β-MSH, is the constant companion of ACTH.
(JAMA 240:1273-1278, 1978)
Brown JD, Doe RP. Pituitary Pigmentary HormonesRelationship of Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone to Lipotropic Hormone. JAMA. 1978;240(12):1273–1278. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290120067036
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