Melanotan 2 (MT-2) is a synthetic version of human alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone (α-MSH). It was originally developed in the 1980s, at the University of Arizona, after it was found that α-MSH caused sexual arousal in rodents as well as darkening of the skin. Originally designed as a sunless tanning option, MT-2 was eventually found to have a wide range of effects such as:
- increasing sexual arousal,
- promoting tanning or skin pigmentation,
- reducing compulsive behavior,
- controlling addiction,
- fighting hunger,
- reducing glucagon production, and
- reversing features of autism.