What Is Thymosin Alpha 1 Peptide?
Thymosin Alpha 1 Peptide
Thymosin Alpha 1 peptide, discovered in 1972, is a naturally occurring peptide fragment researched in clinical trials for cystic fibrosis, infection (e.g., tuberculosis, cytomegalovirus), respiratory disorders, chronic hepatitis, and cancer. It is currently clinically approved to treat chronic hepatitis B and C infections in 35 under-developed countries.
Molecular Formula: C129H215N33O55
Molecular Weight: 3108.3 g/mol
PubChem: CID 16130571
CAS Number: 62304-98-7
Thymosin Alpha 1 Research
Thymosin Alpha 1 Modulates the Immune System
Thymosin Alpha 1, first isolated from thymus gland tissue, is a strong regulator of immune function. The thymus controls T-cell maturation and differentiation. T-cells are central to operations of the adaptive immune system as they carry the memory of past infections and enhance the function of other immune cells for better protection against infections.
Murine models lacking thymus glands show that Thymosin Alpha 1 alone is capable of restoring immune function and prevent widespread infection. The peptide stimulates signaling pathways to produce cytokines and other molecules that coordinate the activities of various cells in the immune system. In other words, Thymalfasin has a widespread positive impact on the immune system.
The peptide is also helpful in vaccine construction. Right now, many vaccines consisting of inactivated (killed) pathogens are less effective in immune stimulation. The peptide can help to achieve the required level of stimulus for such vaccines. The end result would be both immune stimulation and longevity of the immunity, especially for fatal infections such as HIV and avian influenza.
Sepsis is a life-threatening condition triggered by an extreme immune response to infection. The peptide being immunomodulatory can help control sepsis, thereby saving lives and preventing organ damage. It thus reduces the mortality rate in sepsis and controls long-term complications. It may soon be approved as adjuvant therapy for sepsis.
Promotes Nerve Growth
The immune system promotes growth, development, and maintenance of the central nervous system, especially in developing mammals. The peptide boosts neurodevelopment in mice; It improves cognitive function when administered peripherally. It modulates several genes responsible for neuron growth and the development of neuronal synapses. It promotes growth and development and prevents inflammation and neuron dysfunction. In short, it enhances brain structure and function. The molecule can potentially address neurodevelopmental delays, such as cerebral palsy.
Dendritic cells are important for recognizing fungal infections. The peptide helps in dendritic cell maturation and makes the immune system more capable of fighting fungal infections. It activates T-helper cells in murine models of aspergillus (a type of server fungus) infection and thus can be used as adjuvant therapy.
Dendritic cells operate by taking antigens, like bacteria and fungi, and presenting them to other immune system cells to recognize the antigens and respond appropriately. Dendritic cells are abundant in the skin, nose, lungs, and GI system and are one of the immune system’s first responders. The peptide’s regulation of dendritic cells affects the immune system functioning at one of its most fundamental levels.
Thymosin Alpha-1 and Hepatitis
The peptide can affordably and effectively treat chronic hepatitis B and C infections. It triggers immunity and acts as an adjuvant to improve vaccine efficacy and is presently used in over 35 different countries.
Despite the development of antiretroviral therapy, immunity does not get restored completely. Interestingly, the therapy has been implicated in a deficit of cytotoxic T-cells and consistent inflammatory situations. The peptide has been influential in restoring immunity and overall quality of life in patients undergoing highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART).
It also helps the body to fight HIV infection. The molecule stimulates CD8 T-cells to release factors that inhibit HIV infection of other immune cells and stops latent HIV from becoming active.
Blood Pressure Research
A new study has highlighted that Thymalfasin blocks an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and thus controls blood pressure. ACE is a common target of prescription drugs, like lisinopril, in certain patients with high blood pressure. Inhibition of ACE not only lowers blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels, but can decrease cardiac remodeling, delays the progression of atherosclerosis (plaque development), and enhances kidney function. They also show different side effects. The peptide offers the benefits of ACE inhibition without the ill effects of currently available drugs.
Research on human lung cancer cells (A549) shows the anti-proliferative function of Thymosin Alpha 1, thereby reducing both the growth and metastasis of cancerous cells. The peptide also controls cell migration and penetration of cancer cells into surrounding tissue (i.e., invasion).
The combination of Thymosin Alpha 1 with dacarbazine, a common chemotherapeutic drug, showed an improved progression-free survival rate as well as controlled rates of toxicity. The peptide thus boosts the effects of the chemotherapy in reducing cell proliferation. The peptide’s natural occurrence can promote it as part of a cancer vaccine designed to prevent tumor development rather than cancer therapy.
A long-acting variant of Thymosin Alpha 1 has been tested against breast cancer cells in mice. The modified molecule has been more potent in cancer cell growth inhibition. The modified peptide boosts levels of CD4 and CD8 cells while increasing interferon-gamma and interleukin-2 levels in parallel. This was explicitly beneficial in patients treated with steroids for the swelling related to certain cancers.
Thymosin Alpha 1 has been the subject of investigation in many different cancers. Positive results have been seen in:
– Breast cancer
– Melanoma cancer
– Liver cancer
– Lung cancer
– Colon cancer
Inflammatory Pain Research
Inflammatory pain is transmitted via specific peripheral and central nervous system pathways. Given the strong anti-inflammatory outcome of Thymosin Alpha 1, the molecule could effectively reduce pain. Murine research suggests the hypothesis is correct and has noted the specific pathways blocked by the peptide. It acts directly at the site of inflammation to reduce the production of cytokines and other molecules (e.g., TNF-alpha, IL-1beta, etc.) that trigger pain. Its action is different from typical anti-inflammatory pain relievers and can improve pain relief with fewer side effects than existing drugs.
Cystic Fibrosis and Thymosin Alpha 1
A crucial complication of cystic fibrosis (CF) is extended inflammation causing poor mucous clearance, increased rates of infection, and associated issues. They arise from a misfolding of a specific protein called CFTR. The peptide can reduce inflammation and improve the function of the CFTR protein and thus has the potential to offer an effective single-molecule therapeutic approach to treating CF.
Damaged Teeth and Thymosin Alpha 1
The peptide can improve the healing of the gums and soft tissue surrounding the injury caused by the avulsed and replanted tooth and promotes survival of the replanted tooth. Though preliminary, the findings indicate that Thymosin Alpha 1 can benefit traumatic tooth damage, making it easier for dentists to rescue teeth that have been knocked out.
The Future of Thymosin Alpha 1
The potential applications of Thymosin Alpha 1 are too diverse to be reasonably listed. Research is focused on ways to improve its efficacy and cost of production. Variants of the peptide will be studied in the coming years. It has shown great promise as an immune system modulator with few side effects in cancer.
Thymosin Alpha 1 shows minimal side effects, low oral bioavailability, and excellent subcutaneous bioavailability in mice. Per kg dosage in mice does not match to humans.