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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 324832, 8 pages
Review Article

The Human Tripeptide GHK-Cu in Prevention of Oxidative Stress and Degenerative Conditions of Aging: Implications for Cognitive Health

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

Received 13 January 2012; Accepted 27 February 2012

Academic Editor: Marcos Dias Pereira

Copyright © 2012 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.


Oxidative stress, disrupted copper homeostasis, and neuroinflammation due to overproduction of proinflammatory cytokines are considered leading causative factors in development of age-associated neurodegenerative conditions. Recently, a new mechanism of aging—detrimental epigenetic modifications—has emerged. Thus, compounds that possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory activity as well as compounds capable of restoring copper balance and proper gene functioning may be able to prevent age-associated cognitive decline and ward off many common neurodegenerative conditions. The aim of this paper is to bring attention to a compound with a long history of safe use in wound healing and antiaging skin care. The human tripeptide GHK was discovered in 1973 as an activity in human albumin that caused old human liver tissue to synthesize proteins like younger tissue. It has high affinity for copper ions and easily forms a copper complex or GHK-Cu. In addition, GHK possesses a plethora of other regenerative and protective actions including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and wound healing properties. Recent studies revealed its ability to up- and downregulate a large number of human genes including those that are critical for neuronal development and maintenance. We propose GHK tripeptide as a possible therapeutic agent against age-associated neurodegeneration and cognitive decline.