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The family of melanocortins has a broad range of peripheral and central effects. The first described central effects of these proopiomelanocortin-derived peptides included changes in grooming behavior and avoidance. Nowadays they are wellknown for their role in the regulation of energy balance. This article gives an overview of the diverse physiological roles of the melanocortins and their receptors in the brain in energy balance, the immune system, nerve regeneration, nociception, reward, grooming behavior, stress and anxiety, sexual behavior, and the cardiovascular system. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.

Original publication





Book title

Encyclopedia of Neuroscience

Publication Date



713 - 719