GHK-Cu is a small, naturally occurring peptide with the ability to attenuate inflammation, improve antioxidant responses, and improve gene expression on a large scale. Research shows that this copper-chelating peptide may be of critical importance both in the prevention of neurodegenerative disease and as a tool for exploring pathophysiological mechanisms. Studies in mice have revealed that GHK-Cu can protect against neurological insults, improve wound healing, reduce rates of infection, and boost blood vessel growth. The peptide has been of interest in recent years for its anti-oxidant properties that, in combination with its ability to alter gene expression patterns, appear to help slow or even reverse some aspects of aging.
What Are Copper Peptides?
GHK (glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine) is present in human plasma, saliva, and urine but declines with age. It is proposed that GHK functions as a complex with copper 2+ which accelerates wound healing and skin repair. GHK stimulates both synthesis and breakdown of collagen and glycosaminoglycans and modulates the activity of both metalloproteinases and their inhibitors. It stimulates collagen, dermatan sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and the small proteoglycan, decorin. It also restores replicative vitality to fibroblasts after radiation therapy. The molecule attracts immune and endothelial cells to the site of an injury. It accelerates wound-healing of the skin, hair follicles, gastrointestinal tract, boney tissue, and foot pads of dogs. It also induces systemic wound healing in rats, mice, and pigs. In cosmetic products, it has been found to tighten loose skin and improve elasticity, skin density, and firmness, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, reduce photodamage, and hyperpigmentation, and increase keratinocyte proliferation. GHK has been proposed as a therapeutic agent for skin inflammation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and metastatic colon cancer. It is capable of up- and downregulating at least 4,000 human genes, essentially resetting DNA to a healthier state. The present review revisits GHK's role in skin regeneration in the light of recent discoveries.
- BioMed Research International, Volume 2015 – Jan 1, 2015, GHK Peptide as a Natural Modulator of Multiple Cellular Pathways in Skin Regeneration
- Loren R. Pickart, Use of GHL-Cu as a wound-healing and anti-inflammatory agent, Patent US 4760051 A
- FEBS Lett. 1988 Oct 10;238(2):343-6., Stimulation of collagen synthesis in fibroblast cultures by the tripeptide-copper complex glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine-Cu2+
- Disease Management and Clinical Outcomes 1(4):136-141 · July 1998, Effects of topical creams containing vitamin C, a copper-binding peptide cream and melatonin compared with tretinoin on the ultrastructure of normal skin - A pilot clinical, histologic, and ultrastructural study
- Arch Pharm Res. 2007 Jul;30(7):834-9., The effect of tripeptide-copper complex on human hair growth in vitro.
- Cosmetics & Medicine (Russia) July 2004, Loren Pickart PhD, Improving Hair Growth with Skin Remodeling Copper Peptides
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