Functional Interaction between the Dopamine and Melanocortin Systems of the Brain


The melanocortin system of the brain plays a key role in regulating energy metabolism and feeding behavior and is involved in forming memories; impairments to this sytem lead to metabolic disorders and cognitive deficit. The dopamine system of the brain controls motor activity and the functions of the nervous, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems, and is also involved in regulating peripheral metabolism and feeding behavior, as well as generating the effects of rewards and reinforcements. The fact that many major physiological functions are regulated by the melanocortin and dopamine systems points to tight functional interactions between them in various brain structures. These interactions are based on the colocalization of components of the melanocortin and dopamine signal systems in neurons and on interactions between them, supporting crosstalk between the melanocortin and dopamine pathways in the CNS. This review provides a wide-ranging analysis of our current understanding of the interaction between the melanocortin and dopamine systems of the brain at both the structural and functional levels.


melanocortin system dopamine system dopamine melanocortin receptor hypothalamus brain feeding behavior 


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. V. Derkach
    • 1
  • I. V. Romanova
    • 1
  • A. O. Shpakov
    • 1
  1. 1.Sechenov Institute of Evolutionary Physiology and BiochemistryRussian Academy of SciencesSt. PetersburgRussia

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