What Is GHK-Cu (topical) Peptide?
GHK-Cu (copper tripeptide) is one of the most well-studied peptides. It is a naturally occurring plasma peptide whose levels significantly decline with age in human beings. It finds excellent acceptance in cosmetic applications. GHK-Cu is used in anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, after-sun, hair growth stimulating, skin renewal, and skin moisturizer products. The in vitro research effects of these carrier peptides deliver copper to the skin to bring about enzymatic wound-healing pathways, while the desired, in vivo, the result is to make the skin more thick, smooth, and firm due to increased collagen production. Copper tripeptide has been proven to stimulate collagen and decorin production and improve wound healing and tissue regeneration. GHK-Cu improves the condition of hair and aging skin and possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
GHK-Cu (Copper Peptide) is a human tri-peptide that is naturally present. In blood plasma, the level of GHK-Cu is about 200 ng/ml when a person reaches the age of 20. By the age of 60, the peptide level reduces to 80 ng/ml. Scientific studies carried out in different research laboratories worldwide have proven the various biological roles played by tripeptides. GHK-Cu possesses many biological actions, including induction of wound healing, the attraction of immune cells, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, activation of collagen and glycosaminoglycan synthesis in skin fibroblasts, and promoting blood vessel growth. Recent studies indicate its significant role in stem cell biology and anti-tumor defense. Since GHK-Cu is highly relevant to skin biology, it is a prevalent ingredient in cosmetics as a reparative and anti-aging ingredient. The synthesis and levels of GHK decrease with age.
Molecular Formula: C14H24N6O4
Molecular Weight: 340.38 g/mol
PubChem: CID 73587
CAS Number: 89030-95-5
GHK-Cu In Human Trials
A 2% GHK gel has shown positive results in treating 120 diabetic patients when used for rapid wound healing. The peptide enhances the percentage of ulcer closure from 60.8% to 98.5% and decreases the infection from 34% to 7%.
Copper peptide GHK-Cu is a widespread ingredient in anti-aging cosmetics (INCI name: Copper tripeptide-1). Different customized facial studies have proven the anti-aging, firming, and anti-wrinkle activity of copper peptide GHK-Cu. Abdulghani et al. proved that facial cream containing GHK-Cu improved collagen in photo-aged skin of 20 female volunteers. The peptide proved to perform better than vitamin C and retinoic acid. Leyden et al. conducted a 12-week facial study of face and eye cream containing GHK-Cu. The study reported significant improvement in skin laxity, clarity, and appearance and a reduction in fine lines and the depths of wrinkles. It increased skin density and thickness compared to placebo. Researchers observed GHK-Cu eye cream to perform better than vitamin K cream. Finkley et al. conducted a 12-week facial study on 67 women. Experts observed in the study that GHK-Cu cream, when applied twice daily, improved the appearance of aged skin, enhanced thickness, decreased wrinkles, and strongly induced dermal Keratinocyte proliferation, as was observed in the histological analysis of biopsies. The same work also observed copper peptide GHK-Cu to be non-toxic and non-irritating, which is crucial for topical applications.
Copper peptide GHK-Cu and its analogs were observed to stimulate hair growth strongly. The efficiency of the synthetic analog of GHK-Cu was at par with that of 5% minoxidil.
GHK-Cu Current Research
Recent research has revealed the molecular mechanisms of the copper-peptide GHK-Cu. Pollard et al. established that GHK-Cu could restore the function of human fibroblasts damaged by radiation treatment and thus helps to accelerate the healing and regenerative processes.
In 2005, Ahmed et al. demonstrated that the tripeptide also promotes nerve regeneration. GHK enhanced the production of nerve growth factors expression of integrins and increased the regeneration rate of myelinated nerve fibers.
In 2009, research findings from a group of researchers from the Seoul National University (Republic of Korea) highlighted that the copper-peptide GHK-Cu stimulated the proliferation of Keratinocytes and increased the expression of integrins. It also found the p63 protein in the epidermal stem cells; p63 is considered to be a significant marker of stem cell and anti-senescence protein. The authors concluded that GHK-copper helps restore the proliferative potential of epidermal stem cells and increases their ability to repair tissue.
In 2010, Hong Y. et al. (Department of Colorectal Surgery, Singapore General Hospital, Singapore) also observed the ability of GHK-Cu to reverse the synthesis of a group of genes that play a role in the metastatic spreading of colon cancer. GHK-Cu was found to be effective at a low concentration.