GHK and Infection Protection
GHK has strong anti-bacteria actions in mice against Pseudomonas, Streptococcus and Staphylococcus. This was found in 1987 during unpublished safety studies by ProCyte. This was not published or patented since the prevailing expert opinion at that time was that creation of synthetic anti-microbial drugs would always be sufficient to control all bacterial infections. Today, however, the development of drug-resistant bacterial strains such as MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) and Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a serious problem.
In safety studies performed in 1987 by MDS Panlabs (Bothell, WA), it was found that GHK mixed with an equal amount of GHK-copper 2+ induced a very strong protection against Pseudomonas, Streptococcus or Staphylococcus in mice.
The basic assay was to inject mice intraperitoneally a total of 15 micrograms of GHK mixed with an equal amount of GHK-copper 2+, then the mice were injected with enough of a bacterial strain to kill 50-70% of the untreated (saline only) control mice. In the GHK and GHK-copper 2+ treated mice, there were zero deaths.
A comparable human dosage of GHK and GHK-copper 2+, based on the results in mice, would contain 84 milligrams of GHK and 9 milligrams copper 2+. which appears to be a very safe dosage.
In 1997, it was reported that relatively high levels of GHK inhibited in vitro bacterial growth. (Liakopoulou-Kyriakides, M, C Pachatouridis, L Ekateriuiadou, and VP Papageorgiou. “A new synthesis of the tripeptide gly-his-lys with antimicrobial activity.” Amino Acids 13, no. 2 (1997): 155-61.) But the Panlabs report implied an anti-bacterial action effect in the mice at a much lower dosage.
In 2014, some analogs of GHK with attached fatty acids was found to have strong anti-bacterial activity.
Bioorg Med Chem Lett. 2014 Dec 16. In vitro studies of antimicrobial activity of Gly-His-Lys conjugates as potential and promising candidates for therapeutics in skin and tissue infections.
Kukowska M, Kukowska-Kaszuba M, Dzierzbicka K.
Abstract In this Letter, we presented in vitro studies of antimicrobial activity of Gly-His-Lys conjugates that are important point in preliminary biological evaluation of their potential application in skin and tissue therapies. The novel compounds include the conjugation of fatty acids with a modification of the amino acid sequence in the primary structure of Gly-His-Lys (6i). All the compounds exhibited strong to moderate activity. Compound 1d had the most potent antimicrobial activity at MIC ranges 31.3-125.0μg/mL (against Escherichia coli spp. and Staphylococcus aureus spp.), 375.0-500.0μg/mL (against Pseudomonas aeruginosa spp.). Conjugate 5b expressed activity against Staphylococcus aureus spp. and Escherichia coli spp. at MIC ranges 250.0-500.0μg/mL and 62.5-125.0μg/mL, respectively. Both conjugates 1d and 5b possessed rapid bactericidal activity against Gram-positive bacteria at 2MIC or 4MIC. Conjugates 1b-c, 1e, 2a-b and 4b showed noticeable effect against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. Compounds 1d, 1e and 2e were the most active against fungus.
The full paper can be obtained from Elsevier.
GHK and Defensin Genes
In our analysis, we found that GHK increases human gene expression of Defensin anti-microbial genes.
DEFB1 UP 3.96 fold
DEFB5 UP 3.65 fold
One lab study showed that the white blood cells of men who had been on a low-copper diet were less effective attacking germs than they were when the same men were getting enough copper. An older study in a group of children recovering from malnutrition showed that those who got copper supplements had fewer lung infections than those who got sham supplements. While these studies suggest that severe copper deficiency results in poorer immune function, further studies are needed to find out what effect, if any, milder deficiency might have.