About this Journal Submit a Manuscript Table of Contents
BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 648108, 7 pages
Review Article

GHK Peptide as a Natural Modulator of Multiple Cellular Pathways in Skin Regeneration

Skin Biology, Research & Development Department, 4122 Factoria Boulevard, SE Suite No. 200 Bellevue, WA 98006, USA

Received 21 November 2014; Revised 17 March 2015; Accepted 9 April 2015

Academic Editor: May Griffith

Copyright © 2015 Loren Pickart et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


GHK (glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine) is present in human plasma, saliva, and urine but declines with age. It is proposed that GHK functions as a complex with copper 2+ which accelerates wound healing and skin repair. GHK stimulates both synthesis and breakdown of collagen and glycosaminoglycans and modulates the activity of both metalloproteinases and their inhibitors. It stimulates collagen, dermatan sulfate, chondroitin sulfate, and the small proteoglycan, decorin. It also restores replicative vitality to fibroblasts after radiation therapy. The molecule attracts immune and endothelial cells to the site of an injury. It accelerates wound-healing of the skin, hair follicles, gastrointestinal tract, boney tissue, and foot pads of dogs. It also induces systemic wound healing in rats, mice, and pigs. In cosmetic products, it has been found to tighten loose skin and improve elasticity, skin density, and firmness, reduce fine lines and wrinkles, reduce photodamage, and hyperpigmentation, and increase keratinocyte proliferation. GHK has been proposed as a therapeutic agent for skin inflammation, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and metastatic colon cancer. It is capable of up- and downregulating at least 4,000 human genes, essentially resetting DNA to a healthier state. The present review revisits GHK’s role in skin regeneration in the light of recent discoveries.