3 Years ago
Follistatin 344 (and 315)
Follistatin, also called activin-binding protein, is found in nearly all tissues of vertebrate animals. Its primary function is to neutralize members of the TGF-β family, which play fundamental roles in everything from growth and development to energy homeostasis and immune system regulation. In particular, follistatin interacts with activin, which plays an important part in cell proliferation and cell death as well as in the immune response as it applies to wound repair1,2.
Follistatin 344 and 315 are engineered analogues of naturally occurring follistatin. Both are created by alternative splicing of the follistatin mRNA transcript. Scientific research in non-human primates as well as in mice have indicated that both molecules are capable of improving muscle growth by antagonizing myostatin (a member of the TGF-β family).
Follistatin 344 Research Studies
The first evidence that follistatin could enhance muscle growth came from studies conducted in mice in 2001. These studies found that myostatin, a known negative regulator of skeletal muscle growth, interacted with activin type II receptors found on muscle cells. Follistatin 344 interacts with these same receptors and is a competitive antagonist to myostatin. By blocking myostatin’s ability to bind to the activin receptors on muscle cells, follistatin 344 can allow for massive increases in muscle mass3.
Scientists are speculating on a number of ways that follistatin may be put to clinical use for muscle growth in the future. Research in mice from 2009 has indicated that follistatin might be useful in the disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). In SMA, there is a loss of function mutation that causes death of spinal motor neurons. When these nerves die, the muscles that they connect to atrophy as well. Research shows that follistatin not only preserves muscle tissue in mice with SMA, but that it also helps to preserve spinal motor neurons by creating a positive feedback loop. In fact, the mice in the study group lived 30% longer than mice who were not given Follistatin because of enhanced muscle and nerve cell survival4.
Another way in which the muscle-building benefits of follistatin may be put to good use in the future is in the treatment of muscular dystrophy and inclusion body myositis. In both diseases, muscle wasting leaves people too frail to walk or even breathe on their own. Even modest improvements in muscle mass and function would be life-changing for those suffering from these diseases5,6.
3 Years ago
Epithalon and Skin Rejuvenation
Skin rejuvenation is often associated with wrinkles and lines, but the truth runs deeper than wrinkles. Skin becomes more fragile and thus more prone to damage as it ages. Damage to the skin compromises its protective barrier function and can increase risk of infection. Research into ways to strengthen skin can not only make skin look younger, but can protect people from serious medical conditions. Thus far, most skin rejuvenation research has focused on collagen and other large skin proteins. New research, however, suggests that short peptide molecules, like epithalon, may hold more promise in preserving and even rejuvenating skin.
Epithalon (a.k.a. epitalon), is a short (just four amino acids long) peptide that has been demonstrated to have anti-aging and anti-cancer properties in rodent studies. Because epithalon is so short, it can penetrate the cell membrane, without the aid of transporters, and make its way to the nucleus of cells. This is important because, once in the nucleus, epithalon can affect the regulation of genes, activating some and deactivating others to cause cell-wide changes1.
Previous research has indicated that epithalon can stimulate immune system function that has been lost due to natural aging. Investigation of the mechanism of this action uncovered the ability of the Ala-Glu-Asp-Gly peptide chain (Epithalon) to interact with the promoter region of the interferon gamma gene. By promoting the production of interferon gamma, a key immune regulator, epithalon is able to boost functioning in T-cells and thus overall immunity and well being1,2.
The idea that short peptides might be able to affect DNA-level processes has caused a boom in the investigation and research of epithalon and other short peptides in animal models. Those investigations have led to the understanding that epithalon can impact skin aging by activating cellular repair processes, which often go dormant as we age.
3 Years ago
GHK-Cu is a naturally occurring peptide, made of the three amino acids Glycine-Histidine-Lysine, that is complexed with a copper molecule. It was first isolated from human plasma (a part of blood), but can also be found in saliva and urine. It has been linked to skin and tissue healing as well as to immune function and antioxidant generation. Like many natural anti-aging compounds, tissue levels of GHK-Cu tend to drop as humans age, from a high of about 200 micrograms per milliliter at age 20 to a low of 80 micrograms per milliliter by age 601.
GHK-Cu and Skin Healing
About a decade ago, research studies revealed that GHK-Cu is involved in wound healing and in the regulation of scar formation. The list of processes that research has shown GHK-Cu to be involved in includes
- Attracting cells that are involved in the repair process,
- Suppressing free radicals,
- Reducing inflammation by boosting levels of key anti-inflammatory molecules,
- Increasing protein synthesis, and
- Increasing fibroblast growth and differentiation1.
Research from 2014 suggests that GHK-Cu may play an important role in regulating levels of transforming growth factor-β and insulin-like growth factor-2. By increasing levels of TGF-β and decreasing levels of IGF-2, GHK-Cu is able to improve skin healing while reducing the formation of hypertrophic scars2.
Controlled studies of GHK-Cu and aging skin in animals indicate that the peptide tightens skin, improves firmness, boosts elasticity, reduces fine lines and wrinkles, and helps to resolve photo damage. More recent research has also indicated that GHK-Cu can protect the liver from toxins, boost bone growth, and protect gastrointestinal tissue from ulcer formation. Now, it turns out, GHK-Cu also plays a role in protecting against microbial invaders.
3 Years ago
AICAR is an AMP-kinase activator widely used in animal research to investigate energy homeostasis and the regulation of metabolism. Studies have found that AICAR can regulate insulin receptors and change muscle cell function, which has led to investigations into its use for the management of diabetes. The molecule has also been found to have anti-cancer properties, slowing the growth of cancer cells both in vivo and in mouse models. It has additionally been used, in the past, to protect heart muscle during surgery1.
What Is AICAR?
AICAR is short for 5-aminoimidazole--4-carboxamide ribonucleoside. It is also called acadesine. It is actually a naturally occurring molecule, acting as an intermediate in the production of other nucleosides. Because it is an intermediate, AICAR is not found in substantial quantities in living organisms.
What makes AICAR so interesting to the research community is that it can penetrate cell walls. Unlike many compounds, it can pass through a cell wall without difficulty and without being altered. That means it is easy to get AICAR to the interior of the cell where it can act to regulate metabolism, cell growth, and cell death.
3 Years ago
Peptides: What Are They?
Peptides are biological materials that are made from building blocks called amino acids. Animals get most of their amino acids from the foods they eat. Different cells then assemble these amino acids into long chains called peptides or proteins. As the chains grown in length, they are able to fold back on themselves. As it turns out, certain amino acids can interact with one another when peptide chains fold. This results in the folds being locked into place, under normal physiologic conditions, which gives the peptide chain a three-dimensional structure. The length of the peptide chain as well as the order of the amino acids in it determines how the peptide folds and thus its ultimate three dimensional structure.
Receptors, special biological machines to which proteins can bind, will only accept proteins th
3 Years ago
BPC 157 and Healing
BPC 157 is a part of a naturally occurring protein known as body protection compound (BPC). BPC was first isolated from gastric (stomach) juice, but has also been found in other locations, such as the skin and liver. Previous research in animal test subjects has indicated that BPC 157 and BPC both promote healing. New animal research is starting to shed some light on just how they do that.
Fibroblast Outgrowth and Migration
Fibroblasts are motile (move about) cells found in most connective tissue (bones, tendons, muscle, gastric mucosa, skin, etc.). When damage to tissue occurs, fibroblasts migrate to the site of injury in order to begin the process of repair. They also divide and reproduce (outgrowth) to increase the number of fibroblasts available for tissue repair.
In in vitro studies reveal that migration of fibroblasts is directly affected by BPC 157 concentrations. Where BPC 157 levels are the hig
4 Years ago
TB-500 is also known as thymosin beta 4 (TB4). Thymosin Beta 4 has been found, in animal models, to play a central role in controlling the structure of cells. By improving cell structure, TB-500 is thought to aid in wound healing, improve cell responses to stress, and even help cells to live longer. Scientific animal research studies have shown that TB-500's role in regulating cell structure may eventually make it a leading therapeutic in wound healing, blood vessel repair, and even ocular (eye) repair.
4 Years ago
Fifteen years ago, orexins were identified as central regulators of energy homeostasis. Research indicates that orexins are key modulators of the sleep-wake cycle and that these neuropeptides also affect feelings of satiety and hunger. Given their role in energy homeostasis, it was hypothesized that orexin levels are likely regulated, at least in part, by the growth hormone axis. Recent research supports this fact and suggests that growth hormone releasing hormone analogues, such as sermorelin, may be effective in treating conditions in which orexin release is dysfunctional (e.g. narcolepsy) .
4 Years ago
Epithalon, also known as Epitalon is a synthetic peptide analog of epithalamin, a protein found in the pineal gland of mammals and of interest for its anti-aging properties. Past research studies have demonstrated that epithalamin can increase maximum life span in animals, decrease levels of free radicals, and alter catalase activity to prevent tissue damage . Epithalamin has been shown to decrease mortality by 52% in fruit flies, by 52% in normal rats, and by 27% in mice prone to certain types of cancer and cardiovascular disease .
Epithalon has similar effects to epithalamin in mice and rats. It has also shown promise as an anti-cancer agent, reducing spontaneous mammary tumors in mice prone to them and reducing incidence of intestinal tumors in rodents. How does it achieve these effects?
4 Years ago
It is has been known for some time that leptin regulates satiety, but the exact mechanism of regulation has remained elusive. Research has recently revealed that leptin and melanocortins affect the same brain regions associated with hunger and metabolism. This finding has led to new insights into both leptin physiology and the effects of melanocortin analogues like melanotan-2 (MT-2).
The Role of Leptin in Hunger
Leptin, which is made by fat cells, controls both food intake and energy expenditure. A large majority of its effects are mediated through proopiomelanocortin (POMC) neurons in the central nervous system. By stimulating POMC neurons, leptin creates feelings of fullness. In some individuals, a decreased sensitivity of POMC neurons to leptin has been linked to an inability to detect satiety.