ANTI-AGING ACTIVITY OF THE GHK PEPTIDE - THE SKIN AND BEYOND
L. Pickart, A. Margolina
J Aging Res Clin Practice 2012;1(1):13-16
The human copper binding peptide GHK has been extensively studied as a wound-healing agent and widely used in anti-aging cosmetic compositions. Recent studies demonstrated this substance has a broad range of anti-aging activity. GHK is normally used as its copper 2+ complex GHK-Cu which in low non-toxic concentrations facilitates skin healing and remodeling, reduces inflammatory mediators, and increases production of important growth factors and molecular regulators such as decorin. A series of facial studies conducted by different researchers demonstrated that GHK-Cu containing creams reduce signs of aging such as wrinkles, mottled pigmentation and skin laxity. Also, GHK-Cu increases the expression of epidermal stem cell markers such as integrins and p63. GHK-Cu also repairs DNA damage in irradiated fibroblasts restoring normal functions and growth. Recently GHK and plant alkaloid securinine, out of 1309 bioactive compounds tested, were found to suppress RNA production in 70% of 54 human genes overexpressed in patients with aggressive metastatic colon cancer. GHK-Cu possesses antioxidant activity, increasing the level of antioxidant enzymes, reducing proinflammatory cytokines and oxidative damage, as well as quenching toxic products of lipid peroxidation. In conclusion, the tripeptide GHK-Cu that has a long safety record in skin care formulations possesses a range of health benefits, including skin regeneration, repair of irradiated cells, maintenance of stem cells, as well as anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-cancer activity.