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Potential Applications of the ARA-290 Peptide
ARA-290 peptide is a promising molecule that has recently gained attention. This small, synthetic peptide is a derivative of erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone that stimulates the production of red blood cells. However, unlike EPO, ARA-290 does not appear to affect erythropoiesis and has been suggested to have potent tissue-protective effects.
In this article, we will explore what ARA-290 peptide is, how it works, and its potential applications.
ARA-290 Peptide Overview
ARA-290 is a synthetic peptide first developed by a research team led by Dr. Schmidt at the New York University School of Medicine. The team discovered the innate repair receptor and found that activating it with a synthetic peptide could improve tissue repair and reduce inflammation in various preclinical disease models.
After further testing and refinement, they developed ARA-290 peptide as a potential agent for various conditions involving tissue damage, inflammation, and neuropathic pain. It consists of 11 amino acids designed to mimic a specific sequence of erythropoietin. The amino acid sequence of ARA-290 peptide is Tyr-Glu-Pro-Pro-Pro-Tyr-Gly-Gly-Lys-Pro-Ala
This sequence was identified as the “receptor-specific” site of erythropoietin (EPO), which interacts with a specific receptor on the surface of cells to elicit tissue-protective effects. ARA-290 was developed to specifically target this receptor and avoid interactions with the EPO receptor, which is responsible for the hormone’s effects on erythropoiesis.
ARA-290 Studies on Sarcoidosis-Associated Small Nerve Fiber Loss and Neuropathic Pain
Sarcoidosis-associated small nerve fiber loss and damage (SNFLD) refers to a condition in which the small nerve fibers in the peripheral nervous system are damaged or lost due to sarcoidosis. These are the fibers responsible for transmitting sensory information, such as pain, temperature, and touch. Sarcoidosis is a systemic autoimmune inflammatory disease that can affect multiple organs in the body, including the nerves. It leads to the formation of tiny clusters of inflammatory cells called granulomas, which can cause tissue damage and organ dysfunction.
ARA-290 peptide was hypothesized to effectively reduce symptoms in neuropathy models, which led to investigating its potential for managing neuropathy due to Sarcoidosis-associated SNFLD. According to the research, these supposed benefits are likely due to the anti-inflammatory effects of the peptide that it exerts in nervous tissues. The scientists concluded that “ARA290 dose-dependently reduced allodynia coupled to suppression of the spinal microglia response, suggestive of a mechanistic link between ARA290-induced suppression of central inflammation and relief of neuropathic pain symptoms.”
Clinical studies in patients with sarcoidosis also support this hypothesis, suggesting that ARA-290 peptide may effectively reduce neuropathy symptoms by ameliorating the sarcoidosis-associated SNFLD. One trial with 38 patients reported that 28 days of daily administration of ARA-290 peptide appeared to lead to significantly improved neuropathic symptoms, a significant increase in corneal small nerve fiber density, changes in cutaneous temperature sensitivity, and an increased exercise capacity as assessed by the 6-minute walk test.
Another 28-day trial in 64 patients reports that taking doses ARA-290 peptide may significantly improve pain severity and functional capacity in treated individuals. The results of this and other trials suggest that ARA-290 has a disease-modifying effect on small nerve fiber loss in patients with sarcoidosis.
ARA-290 Peptide and Management of Diabetes and Related Complications
Insulin resistance plays a significant role in the development and progression of type 2 diabetes. Preliminary research on the glycemic and metabolic effects of ARA-290 peptide was conducted in mice suffering from insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia, hepatic lipid accumulation, and impaired insulin signaling pathways in skeletal muscle. A high-fat, high-sucrose diet-induced the condition, and therapy with ARA-290 peptide appeared to reduce hepatic lipid deposition and normalized serum glucose and lipid profiles. In this murine mode, the treatment appeared to improve insulin sensitivity and glucose uptake in skeletal muscle, attenuate the overproduction of myokines, and enhance mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle. Many other animal studies also report that ARA-290 may significantly improve glycemic control and lower insulin resistance in rats with type 2 diabetes.
Clinical studies also report similar results in humans with diabetes. According to one trial in 9 patients with diabetes (mainly type 2 diabetes) and diabetic macular edema (DME), 12 weeks of ARA-290 peptide therapy appeared to lead to improvements in central subfield retinal thickness, tear production, diabetic control, and albuminuria.
Another trial included 24 subjects with type 2 diabetes who received ARA-290 peptide or a placebo for 28 days and were followed for an additional month. The researchers reported no safety issues, and those receiving ARA-290 appeared to exhibit an improvement in HbA1c and lipid profiles. They noted that “subjects receiving ARA 290 exhibited an improvement in hemoglobin A1c (Hb A1c) and lipid profiles throughout the 56 [day] observation period.” Neuropathic symptoms and mean corneal nerve fiber density also appeared to improve in the ARA-290 group, suggesting that it may benefit both metabolic control and neuropathy in subjects with type 2 diabetes.
ARA-290 Peptide and Anti-inflammatory, Anti-Aging Effects
Studies have suggested that ARA-290 peptide may reduce inflammation by modulating the activity of the innate immune system, which is responsible for the initial response to infections and tissue damage. Specifically, ARA-290 peptide has been suggested to inhibit the activation of macrophages and reduce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-alpha and IL-1beta, in models of colon inflammation.
One trial in aged rats reports that chronic ARA-290 peptide treatment may reduce inflammation and fibrosis in the heart, improve mitochondrial and myocardial cell health, and preserve left ventricular ejection fraction. ARA-290 also apparently mitigated the age-associated increase in blood pressure, preserved body weight, and reduced markers of organism-wide frailty.
Thus, preliminary research suggests that ARA-290 peptide may have potent anti-aging and anti-inflammatory effects. The benefits of the peptide for patients with type 2 diabetes and sarcoidosis may also be partially related to its potent anti-inflammatory effects.
More research is needed to fully understand ARA-290’s potential. Currently, the peptide has research-only status, and it is not intended for managing or treating any condition.
Disclaimer: The products mentioned are not intended for human or animal consumption. Research chemicals are intended solely for laboratory experimentation and/or in-vitro testing. Bodily introduction of any sort is strictly prohibited by law. All purchases are limited to licensed researchers and/or qualified professionals. All information shared in this article is for educational purposes only.
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Dr. Usman (BSc, MBBS, MaRCP) completed his studies in medicine at the Royal College of Physicians, London. He is an avid researcher with more than 30 publications in internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Usman has worked as a researcher and a medical consultant for reputable pharmaceutical companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi.