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Copper peptide GHK-Cu

2014/10/9      view:

Copper peptide GHK-Cu is a naturally occurring copper complex of a glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine peptide. Since it has three amino acids it is called tripeptide. The GHK-Cu tripeptide has strong affinity for copper(II) and was first isolated from human plasma. It can be found also in saliva and urine.

In the late 1980s, copper peptide GHK-Cu started attracting attention as a promising wound healing agent. Pioneers in this field were J.P Borel and F. Maquart from Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne (France). At optimal, picomolar to nanomolar concentrations, GHK-Cu stimulated the synthesis of collagen in skinfibroblasts, increased accumulation of total proteins,glycosaminoglycans (in a biphasic curve)and DNA in the dermal wounds in rats. They also found out that the GHK sequence is present in collagen and suggested that the GHK peptide is released after tissue injury. They proposed a class of emergency response molecules which are released from the extracellular matrix at the site of an injury. GHK-Cu also increased synthesis of decorin– a small proteoglycan involved in the regulation of collagen synthesis, wound healing regulation and anti-tumor defense.

The same group established that GHK-Cu stimulated both the synthesis of metalloproteinases , the enzymes which break down dermal proteins, and their inhibitors (anti-proteases). The fact that GHK-Cu not only stimulates the production of dermal components, but also regulates their breakdown suggests that it should be used with caution.

Facial studies

Copper peptide GHK-Cu is widely used in anti-agingcosmetics (INCI name: Copper tripeptide-1). Several controlled facial studies confirmed anti-aging, firming and anti-wrinkle activity of copper peptide GHK-Cu.

Abdulghani et al. established that facial cream containing GHK-Cu increased collagen in photoaged skin of 20 female volunteers, performing better than vitamin Cand retinoic acid.

Leyden et al. conducted a 12-week facial study of GHK-Cu containing face and eye cream, reporting significant improvement of skin laxity, clarity and appearance, reduced fine lines and the depths of wrinkles and increased skin density and thickness comparing to placebo. GHK-Cu eye cream performed better than vitamin K cream.

Finkley et al. conducted 12 week facial study on 67 women and reported that GHK-Cu cream applied twice daily improved aged skin appearance, increased thickness, reduced wrinkles and strongly stimulated dermal keratinocyte proliferation as determined by histological analysis of biopsies. The same study found copper peptide GHK-Cu to be non-toxic and non-irritating.[35]

Hair growth

Copper peptide GHK-Cu and its analogues were found to stimulate hair growth. In some circumstances, the efficiency of synthetic analog of GHK-Cu was similar to that of 5% minoxidil. A commercial product GraftCyte was clinically proven to improve hair transplanation outcome.