Peptides > KPV (ACTH(11-13), alpha-MSH)

KPV (ACTH(11-13), alpha-MSH)

KPV is a potent anti-inflammatory peptide that has shown promise in a number of disease conditions. The most active research is in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease where the peptide has showed substantial promise. KPV has been shown in animal studies to be safe and effective when administered orally, intravenously, subcutaneously and transdermal. Research in wound healing also reveals that KPV and other alpha-MSH derivatives may offer a host of benefits that speed wound healing, reduce infection, fight inflammation, and lead to better cosmetic results. KPV and similar peptides could become mainstays not just in wound healing, but in scar reduction following surgery.

This PRODUCT IS INTENDED AS A RESEARCH CHEMICAL ONLY. This designation allows the use of research chemicals strictly for in vitro testing and laboratory experimentation only. All product information available on this website is for educational purposes only. Bodily introduction of any kind into humans or animals is strictly forbidden by law. This product should only be handled by licensed, qualified professionals. This product is not a drug, food, or cosmetic and may not be misbranded, misused or mislabled as a drug, food or cosmetic.


1. Introduction to KPV


2. Structure of KPV


3. Research on KPV

Introduction to KPV (ACTH(11-13), alpha-MSH)

KPV is a peptide fragment derived from alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone (alpha-MSH). This peptide has garnered attention for its potential photoprotective properties, efficacy against ischemia, impact on sexual function, and influence on feeding behavior and energy balance. Notably, KPV, composed of lysine-proline-valine, exhibits significant anti-inflammatory effects[1]. Researchers are actively exploring its therapeutic potential in managing inflammatory bowel disease, as it demonstrates potent anti-inflammatory properties in various bodily systems such as the central nervous system, gastrointestinal tract, lungs, vascular system, and joints. Due to its small size, KPV can be administered through multiple routes, including oral, intravenous, and transdermal methods. 

Structure of KPV

Amino Acid Sequence: Lys-Pro-Val
Molecular Formula: C16H30N4O4
Molecular Weight: 342.43 g/mol
PubChem CID: 125672
CAS Number: 67727-97-3
Synonyms: MSH (11-13), ACTH(11-13), alpha-MSH(11-13)

Research on KPV

Intestinal Inflammation
Research stemming from KPV investigations has uncovered its ability to mitigate intestinal inflammation significantly. In studies involving mouse models with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), KPV demonstrated robust outcomes by reducing inflammatory infiltrates, MPO activity, and overall histological signs of inflammation. Compared to a placebo, mice treated with KPV exhibited accelerated recovery and more substantial weight gain.

Additional exploration into KPV’s delivery methods has unveiled that loading KPV onto nanoparticles functionalized with hyaluronic acid can effectively target the peptide’s anti-inflammatory effects within the intestine. This approach leads to accelerated mucosal healing and the alleviation of inflammation, primarily through the strong down-regulation of TNF-alpha in mouse models. KPV, in this regard, offers a more effective and precise means of curbing IBD-related inflammation without affecting TNF-alpha levels elsewhere in the body. Modifying KPV aims to enhance its oral bioavailability, which doesn’t increase the peptide’s effectiveness but influences its potency, thus reducing the required total dosage for an effect.

Research indicates that KPV’s impact extends beyond TNF-alpha inhibition; it also reduces NF-kappaB and mitogen-activated protein kinase activity. These effects complement TNF-alpha inhibition, collectively diminishing inflammatory changes in the intestine. Mice treated with KPV display significantly less colonic infiltration and normal colon lengths compared to control groups.

Notably, the graph above reveals that KPV primarily exerts its effects in cases of heightened inflammation and has minimal impact on normal tissue. This phenomenon is attributed, in part, to KPV’s ability to enter colonic cells through a transporter that becomes upregulated during inflammation. Consequently, KPV may serve as an effective preventive or maintenance medication for IBD, even during quiescent periods, as it remains inactive unless needed and is excreted otherwise. Recent findings by Professor Didier Merlin suggest that KPV enters colonic cells via PepT1, a protein channel predominantly expressed in the intestine during inflammatory states. This explains KPV’s enhanced effectiveness in inflamed settings and hints at a novel drug delivery approach applicable to various conditions. By targeting proteins altered during disease conditions, it might be possible to concentrate drug activity in specific areas, potentially reducing dosages of drugs with severe side effects and developing therapeutics tailored to specific disease states.

KPV as a General Anti-Inflammatory: 
Research as far back as 1984, involving rabbits, uncovered KPV’s potent anti-inflammatory and fever-reducing (anti-pyretic) properties. However, KPV demonstrated lower potency in this regard compared to the full alpha-MSH molecule. This observation prompted decades of research into modified forms of alpha-MSH.

Collectively, these tests have highlighted that alpha-MSH and its analogues possess anti-inflammatory properties effective across a wide range of diseases. These molecules have undergone testing in fever, irritant and allergic contact dermatitis, vasculitis, fibrosis, arthritis, and inflammation in various organs, including the eyes, brain, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. In all instances, alpha-MSH emerges as the most effective anti-inflammatory agent. Unfortunately, it also induces skin pigmentation as a major side effect. KPV, on the other hand, lacks this side effect. While not as potent as intact alpha-MSH, KPV’s absence of side effects makes it theoretically possible to increase dosage levels in most cases to achieve the desired therapeutic effects.

The disparity in potency between KPV and alpha-MSH is minimal, at best, as the majority of alpha-MSH’s anti-inflammatory effects are attributed to the KPV segment. Interestingly, the parent molecule seems to excel in suppressing late-stage inflammatory responses. For example, in contact dermatitis, alpha-MSH is more effective at preventing allergic inflammatory responses two weeks after initial exposure, suggesting a potential influence on immune modulation separate from the immediate inflammatory response. Ongoing research aims to elucidate this process further.

Wound Healing:
Wound healing is a multifaceted process encompassing inflammatory, proliferative, and remodeling phases. Each phase entails distinct cell populations and cytokine concentrations, providing unique opportunities for intervention. Research reveals that despite variations in skin cell subtypes during each wound healing phase, the majority of these cells express a melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R), which binds to alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone. Consequently, these cells also bind to alpha-MSH analogues like KPV and KdPT.

Due to their retention of some alpha-MSH properties while lacking others, alpha-MSH derivatives like KPV offer potential benefits in wound healing. KPV, for instance, retains the anti-inflammatory properties of alpha-MSH but avoids the pigment-inducing activity associated with natural scar formation, particularly in individuals with darker skin.

One of KPV’s anti-inflammatory mechanisms involves participation in the innate immune response against two common skin pathogens: Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans. Research indicates that KPV inhibits the growth of these pathogens at physiological concentrations, suggesting its potential utility in preventing infections in severe wounds like burns. This sets KPV apart from other anti-inflammatory medications, which often inhibit the body’s ability to combat infections, thus combining anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial activities.

KPV serves as a structural model in recent research aiming to replicate its anti-fungal effects in novel therapeutics. The premise is that KPV’s 3D structure underlies its effectiveness as an anti-fungal agent, and replicating this structure may lead to compounds with similar anti-fungal activity but different effects on other biological processes.

Scar Formation:
Building on KPV’s benefits in the initial inflammatory phase of wound healing, research also investigates its role in the subsequent stages of wound healing. KPV appears capable of reducing chronic inflammation that contributes to hypertrophic scar formation, such as keloids. This type of scarring involves extensive macrophage infiltration, TNF immunoreactivity, and high neutrophil levels. Administration of alpha-MSH in this context results in smaller scars and a less pronounced inflammatory response. Similar effects have been observed in other tissues, such as the lung and heart. These findings raise hope that KPV could be useful in preventing scarring associated with certain chemotherapy agents. This could not only mitigate cancer treatment side effects but also enable the use of higher medication concentrations for improved cancer treatment outcomes.

According to Dr. Didier Merlin, part of KPV’s effectiveness in reducing scar prominence stems from its ability to modulate collagen metabolism. Alpha-MSH and its analogues suppress IL-8 secretion, inhibiting collagen type 1 production. This is particularly significant during the final phase of wound healing, the remodeling phase, as individuals prone to keloid formation and hypertrophic scarring exhibit lower MC1R mRNA expression on dermal fibroblasts.

KPV vs. Alpha-MSH:
When comparing KPV to Alpha-MSH, it’s evident that Alpha-MSH, although more potent, has a significant drawback – it induces skin pigmentation. This adverse effect has discouraged further exploration of intact Alpha-MSH as a potential anti-inflammatory agent. In contrast, KPV is preferred due to its retention of most of Alpha-MSH’s anti-inflammatory properties without causing side effects. Additionally, KPV’s ease of manufacturing makes it advantageous from both cost and logistical perspectives [15]. Dr. Thomas Luger, a renowned dermatologist and expert in inflammatory skin diseases, has extensively researched and published on KPV, demonstrating its potent anti-inflammatory properties with minimal adverse effects.

It’s worth noting that KPV’s anti-inflammatory effects seem to operate through a different mechanism than Alpha-MSH. While Alpha-MSH binds to specific melanocortin receptors, KPV does not. This distinction is supported by mouse studies, wherein blocking MC3/4 receptors, responsible for Alpha-MSH’s anti-inflammatory effects, does not affect the anti-inflammatory actions of KPV. Specifically, blocking these receptors has no impact on the leukocyte migration induced by KPV [16].

Another advantageous feature of KPV is its versatile modes of administration. Research conducted in animal models has demonstrated that KPV can be administered orally, subcutaneously, or via injection (peripheral or central) without causing significant side effects. Recent research has also shown successful transdermal administration of KPV [17]. The ability to administer the peptide through various routes is not just a matter of convenience; it allows scientists to target different areas within the body for treatment.

KPV Summary:
KPV is a potent anti-inflammatory peptide with promise for numerous medical conditions. Its most extensive research application lies in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, where it has shown substantial potential. Animal studies have confirmed the safety and efficacy of various administration methods, including oral, intravenous, subcutaneous, and transdermal delivery. Furthermore, research in wound healing suggests that KPV and other derivatives of Alpha-MSH may offer a range of benefits, such as accelerated wound healing, reduced infection rates, anti-inflammatory properties, and improved cosmetic outcomes. KPV and similar peptides could become essential in not only wound healing but also scar reduction following surgical procedures.

KPV demonstrates minimal side effects, high subcutaneous bioavailability in mice, and oral efficacy. However, it’s essential to note that mouse dosages do not directly translate to human use. KPV available at Peptide Sciences is strictly intended for educational and scientific research purposes and is not intended for human consumption. It should only be purchased by licensed researchers.

Article Author

The above literature was researched, edited and organized by Dr. Logan, M.D. Dr. Logan holds a doctorate degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and a B.S. in molecular biology.


The product information featured on this website pertains exclusively to in-vitro studies. In-vitro studies, also known as ‘in glass’ studies, are conducted outside of living organisms. It’s important to emphasize that these products do not constitute medicines or drugs and have not received FDA approval for the prevention, treatment, or cure of any medical conditions, ailments, or diseases. It is crucial to note that the introduction of these products into the bodies of humans or animals is strictly prohibited by law.