Peptides are a compound of amino acids in which a Carboxyl group of one amino acid is united with the amino group of the other. This eliminates the water molecules present hence forming peptides.
In simple terms, a peptide is a small protein. Anything with less than fifty amino acids is considered a peptide. A dipeptide composed two or more amino acids joined by a peptide bond. A Tripeptide, on the other hand, is a group of 3 amino acids bound by two peptide bonds.
Extensive researches are being undertaken by different research bodies to identify the medical uses of peptides. According to a recent interview on research.com with Bruno Meloni PhD from the Center for Neuromuscular and Neurology, The University of Western Australia, Ned lands, it has been discovered that peptides can be used the brain damage that results from stroke. The study was conducted due to lack of clinically available neuroprotective drugs that can be used to minimize brain injury after stroke. In the research, the institute was using arginine-rich peptides for some years to introduce experimental neuroprotective peptides into the brain and the brain cells. Arginine is among the 20 amino acids produced naturally by the body. Peptides rich in Arginine have a unique property. They can transverse cell membranes and enter into the body cells and even cross the blood-brain barrier. Most medicinal drugs cannot do this.
While using the Vitro Neural cell culture-stroke models, the institute found out that peptides that are rich in poly-arginine or arginines posses potential neuroprotective properties. They also found that the neuroprotective properties tend to increase with the increase in the length of the poly-arginine peptide. The research has confirmed that poly-arginine peptides reduce brain damage when they are administered one hour after the stroke using a lab animal stroke model. The results of these findings can be helpful in reducing the damage that can be caused to the brain from acute brain disorders such as Brain Injury or Perinatal Hypoxia-ischemia. Another research the neurological values of the peptides proved that using synthetic peptides, it’s now possible to slow the progression of the Parkinson’s disease. The synthetic peptides will the stops faulty protein- fibrils from being manufactured.
Parkinson’s disease is a neurological disorder that progressive and is due to brain cells which release a certain chemical called dopamine that can be used for controlling body movement and conveying messages. Statistics suggests that up to 10 million people are living with the disorder worldwide. Parkinson’s disease is caused by loss of Dopamine cells in the brain. The loss of the Dopamine cells is due to protein fibrils formed in the brain which kill the cells of the brain that produce Dopamine. By stopping the formation of defective protein membrane, the synthetic peptide can slows down the speed of the progression of the Parkinson’s disease. The University of Bath leads this new study and funded by the Parkinson’s UK. During the study, researchers have discovered that the man-made peptides stick to the misshapen α- synuclein and then stops it from sticking into the fibrils which kill the brain-cells that produce dopamine. The synthetic Peptide used to reduce disease matches the α – synuclein region which is mutated in Parkinson’s. The peptide is made up of 10 amino acids. To manufacture this, the team had to go through a painstaking process of conducting a research on all the peptides to find the ones that could possibly match α – synuclein region.
According to the team leader, Dr. Jody Mason, from the Bath Department of Biology and Biochemistry, the work is still in its early stages but so far the researchers are motivated by their findings. The researchers are hopeful that their findings can be a breakthrough in treating Parkinson’s disease. The results of recent researches on peptides have made the worldview peptides in an entirely new light. It is no longer considered a bodybuilding supplement or an anti-aging product. Now peptides are being viewed as breakthroughs in the neurology and neuroprotective fields.
If both studies are to be successful, then stroke will no longer be as fatal as it used to be since the arginine will be used to smooth the brain damage that makes stroke so lethal. The synthetic peptide used to slow down progression of Parkinson’s disease can be used to produce the cure of Parkinson’s disease if the studies are successful enough. Institutions looking to advance peptide studies can buy peptides at American Science Labs and attempt their own studies at relatively low costs.