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International Journal of Inflammation
Volume 2013, Article ID 985815, 10 pages
Review Article

Curbing Inflammation through Endogenous Pathways: Focus on Melanocortin Peptides

1William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, UK
2The Centre for Experimental Medicine & Rheumatology, William Harvey Research Institute, Barts and The London School of Medicine & Dentistry, 2nd Floor, John Vane Science Centre, Charterhouse Square, London EC1M 6BQ, UK

Received 22 February 2013; Revised 11 April 2013; Accepted 14 April 2013

Academic Editor: Christopher D. Buckley

Copyright © 2013 Tazeen J. Ahmed et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The resolution of inflammation is now known to be an active process, armed with a multitude of mediators both lipid and protein in nature. Melanocortins are peptides endowed with considerable promise with their proresolution and anti-inflammatory effects in preclinical models of inflammatory disease, with tissue protective effects. These peptides and their targets are appealing because they can be seen as a natural way of inducing these effects as they harness endogenous pathways of control. Whereas most of the information generated about these mediators derives from several acute models of inflammation (such as zymosan induced peritonitis), there is some indication that these mediators may inhibit chronic inflammation by modulating cytokines, chemokines, and leukocyte apoptosis. In addition, proresolving mediators and their mimics have often been tested alongside therapeutic protocols, hence have been tested in settings more relevant to real life clinical scenarios. We provide here an overview on some of these mediators with a focus on melanocortin peptides and receptors, proposing that they may unveil new opportunities for innovative treatments of inflammatory arthritis.