The Magic of Copper Peptides

Recent publications:

A groundbreaking research on reversing pathological gene expression with the GHK-peptide

Choi HR, Kang YA, Ryoo SJ, Shin JW, Na JI, Huh CH, Park KC. Stem cell recovering effect of copper-free GHK in skin. J Pept Sci. 2012 Sep 28. doi: 10.1002/psc.2455. [Epub ahead of print]

Campbell JD, McDonough JE, Zeskind JE, Hackett TL, Pechkovsky DV, Brandsma CA, Suzuki M, Gosselink JV, Liu G, Alekseyev YO, Xiao J, Zhang X, Hayashi S, Cooper JD, Timens W, Postma DS, Knight DA, Lenburg ME, Hogg JC, Spira A. A gene expression signature of emphysema-related lung destruction and its reversal by the tripeptide GHK. Genome Med. 2012 Aug 31;4(8):67.

The latest comprehensive review on the copper-peptide GHK-Cu is published in


Loren Pickart PhD et al. The Human Tripeptide GHK-Cu in Prevention of Oxidative Stress and Degenerative Conditions of Aging: Implications for Cognitive Health. A FULL TEXT IN OPEN ACCESS IS AVAILABLE.

Recent publications by Dr. Pickart:

Pickart L., Margolina A. Anti-age activity of the GHK peptide – the skin and beyond. JARCP, 2012: 1(1): 13-16

Pickart L., Pickart F. A possible mechanism whereby skin remodeling may suppress cancer metastasis genes. In Society for the Advancement of Wound Care and the Wound Healing Society, A8-A62. Dallas, Texas:Wound repair and regeneration. 2011.

Pickart L., Margolina A., GHK-Copper Peptide in Skin Remodeling and Anti-Aging SOFW
Journal 2010; 136; 10-17

Pickart L. The human tri-peptide GHK and tissue remodeling. J. Biomater. Sci. Polymer Edn. 2008; 19(8):969-988.


GHK-Cu research 1973-present:

1. Pickart L. A tripepeptide in human serum that promotes the growth of hepatoma cells and the survival of normal hepatocytes, Ph.D. thesis, Univ. of California, San Francisco, 1973.

2. Pickart L., Thaler M. Tripeptide in human serum which prolongs survival of normal liver cells and stimulates growth in neoplastic liver. Nature New Biol., 1973.

3. Schlesinger D.H., Pickart L., Thaler M.M. Growth-modulating serum tripeptide is glycyl-histidyl-lysine. Experientia. 1977, 33:324-5

4. Pickart L., Thaler M.M., Millard M., Effect of transition metals on recovery from plasma of the growth-modulating tripeptide glycylhistidyllysine, J. Chromatogr., 1979, 175:65-73.

5. Pickart L., Thaler M.M. Growth-modulating tripeptide (glycylhistidyllysine): association with copper and iron in plasma, and stimulation of adhesiveness and growth of hepatoma cells in culture by tripeptide-metal ion complexes. J. Cell. Physiol 1980, 102:129-39.

6. Pickart L., Freedman J.H., Loker W.J., Peisach J., Perkins C.M., Stenkamp R.E., Weinstein B, Growth-modulating plasma tripeptide may function by facilitating copper uptake into cells, Nature. 1980, 288:715-7

7. Williams M.V., Cheng Y. Glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine, a growth promoting factor for human cells. Cytobios. 1980;27(105):19-25.

8. Sensenbrenner M, Jaros GG, Moonen G, Meyer BJ, Effect of conditioned media on nerve cell differentiation, Experientia. 1980, 36:660-2

9. Pickart L.The use of glycylhistidyllysine in culture systems.In Vitro. 1981;17(6):459-66.

10. Lau SJ, Sarkar B, The interaction of copper(II) and glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine, a growth- modulating tripeptide from plasma, Biochem J 1981 199:649-56

11. Freedman J.H., Pickart L., Weinstein B., Mims W.B., Peisach J. Structure of the Glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine--copper(II) complex in solution. Biochemistry. 1982, 21:4540-4

12. Kwa E., Bor-Sheng L., Rose N., Weinstein B., Pickart L., X-PMR studies of Cu(II) and Zn(II) interaction with glycyl-l-histidyl-l-lysine and related peptides, Peptides 1983, 8, 805-808

13. Kimoto E., Tanaka H., Gyotoku J., Morishige F., Pauling L. Enhancement of antitumor activity of ascorbate against Ehrlich ascites tumor cells by the copper:glycylglycylhistidine complex. Cancer Res. 1983;43(2):824-8.

14. Perkins C.M., Rose N.J., Weinstein B., Stenkamp R.E., Jensen, L.H., Pickart L., The structure of a copper complex of the growth factor glycyl-l-histidyl-l-lysine at 1.1 angstrom resolution, Inorg. Chem. Acta 1984, 82:93-99

15. Downey D., Larrabee W.F., Voc i V., Pickart L. Acceleration of wound healing using glycyl-histidyl-lysine copper (II) Surg Forum 1985

16. Pickart L., Iamin: A human growth factor with multiple wound-healing properties. In: Biology of Copper Complexes (edit Sorenson J.R., Humana Press, Clifton, New Jersey, 1985) pp.273-282

17. Barra R. Effects of glycyl-histidyl-lysine on Morris hepatoma 7777 cells. Cytobios. 1987;52(209):99-107.

18.Maquart F.X., Pickart L., Laurent M., Gillery P., Monboisse J.C., Borel J.P. Stimulation of collagen synthesis in fibroblast cultures by the tripeptide-copper complex glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine-Cu2 .FEBS Lett. 1988; 10;238(2):343-6

19. Pickart L., Aust S.D. Effects of glycyl-histidyl-lysyl chelated Cu(II) on ferritin dependent lipid peroxidation, Adv Exp Med Biol 1990, 264:79-84

20. Trachy R.E., Fors T.D., Pickart L., Uno H., The hair follicle-stimulating properties of peptide copper complexes. Results in C3H mice. Adv. Exp. Med. Biol 1990,264:79-84.

21. Ehrlich H.P., Stimulation of skin healing in immunosuppressed rats, Symposium on Collagen and Skin Repair, Reims, Sept. 12, 1991

22. Wegrowski Y., Maquart F.X., Borel J.P. Stimulation of sulfated glycosaminoglycan synthesis by the tripeptide-copper complex glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine-Cu2 . Life Sci. 1992;51(13):1049-56

23. Counts D., Hill E., Turner-Beatty M., Grotewiel M., Fosha-Thomas S., Pickart L. Effect of lamin on full thickness wound healing. Fed Am Soc Exp Biol.1992; A1636

24. Pickart L. Compositions for accelerating wound healing in mammals containing cupric salt or complexes with amino acid or peptide. US Patent 5,164,367, 1992.

25. Uno H. and Kurata S., Chemical agents and peptides affect hair growth, J. Invest. Dermatol 1993 101(1 Suppl):143S-147S

26. Lane TF, Iruela-Arispe ML, Johnson RS, Sage EH. SPARC is a source of copper-binding peptides that stimulate angiogenesis. J Cell Biol. 1994 May;125(4):929-43

27. Mulder G.D., Patt L.M., Sanders L., et al. Enhanced healing of ulcers in patients with diabetes by topical treatment of glycyl-l-histidyl-l-lysine. Wound Repair Regen. 1994;2:259-269

28. Levine, Patt, Koren, An open study of PC1020 (GHK-Cu) rectal solution in treatment of distal inlammatory bowel disease, World Congress of Dermatology, October 1994

29. Buffoni F., Pino R., Dal Pozzo A. Effect of tripeptide-copper complexes on the process of skin wound healing and on cultured fibroblasts. Arch. Int. Pharmacodyn Ther. 1995;330(3):345-60.

30. Awa T., Nogimori K., Hairloss protection by peptide-copper complex in animal models of chemotherapy-induced alopecia. Journal Of Dermatological Science, 10, 1995, 99-104.

31. Rabenstein D.L., Robert J.M., Hari S. Binding of the growth factor glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine by heparin. FEBS Lett. 1995;4;376(3):216-20.

32. Godet D, Marie PJ Effects of the tripeptide glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine copper complex on osteoblastic cell spreading, attachment and phenotype. Cell. Mol. Biol. (Noisy-le-grand). 1995;41(8):1081-91.

33.Pohunkova H., Stehlik J., Vachal J., Cech O., Adam M., Morphological features of bone healing under the effect of collagen-graft-glycosaminoglycan copolymer supplemented with the tripeptide Gly-His-Lys, Biomaterials 1996

34. Trachy RE, Patt, L, Duncan G, Kalis, B Phototrichogram Analysis of Hair Follicle Stimulation: A pilot clinical study with a peptide-copper complex. Dermatological Research Techniques, (CRC Press), pp-217-226, 1996

35. Manot, L, Effects du tripeptide GHK-Cu sur le Coeur isole de rat, Thesis, Universite de Reims Champagne Ardenne, 28 October 1997

36. Abdulghani, A.A., Sherr S., Shirin S., Solodkina G., Tapia E.M.,Gottlieb A.B. Effects of topical creams containing vitamin C, a copper-binding peptide cream and melatonin compared with tretinoin on the ultrastructure of normal skin - A pilot clinical, histologic, and ultrastructural study. Disease Manag Clin Outcomes. 1998;1:136-141.

37. Zhai H, Leow YH, Maibach HR’ Human barrier recovery after acute acetone perturbation: an irritant dermatitis model, Clin Exp Derm 1998, 23:11-13.

38. Zhai H., Leow Y.H., Maibach H.R., Sodium laurel sulfate damaged skin in vivo in man: a water barrier repair model, Skin Res. Tech. 1998, 4:24-27.

39. Perez-Meza D., Leavitt M., Trachy R., Clinical evaluation of GraftCyte Moist Dressing on hair graft viability and quality of healing, Inter. J. Cos. Surg. 1998, 6, 80-84.

40. Kawase M., Miura N., Kurikawa N., Masuda K., Higashiyama S., Yagi K., Mizoguchi T. Immobilization of tripeptide growth factor glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine on poly(vinylalcohol)-quarternized stilbazole (PVA-SbQ) and its use as a ligand for hepatocyte attachment. Biol Pharm Bull. 1999;22(9):999-1001.

41. Kawase M., Kurikawa N., Higashiyama S., Miura N., Shiomi T., Ozawa C., Mizoguchi T., Yagi K. Effectiveness of polyamidoamine dendrimers modified with tripeptide growth factor, glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine, for enhancement of function of hepatoma cells. J. Biosci. Bioeng. 1999;88(4):433-7.

42. Zhai H., Chang Y.C., Singh M., Maibach H.R., In vivo nickel contact dermatitis: a human model for topical therapeutics, Contact Dermatitis 1999, 40:205-208.23. Siméon

A., Monier F., Emonard H., Gillery P., Birembaut P., Hornebeck W., Maquart F.X. Expression and activation of matrix metalloproteinases in wounds: modulation by the tripeptide-copper complex glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine-Cu2. J. Invest Dermatol. 1999;112(6):957-64

43. Siméon A., Emonard H., Hornebeck W., Maquart F.X. The tripeptide-copper complex glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine-Cu2 stimulates matrix metalloproteinase-2 expression by fibroblast cultures. Life Sci. 2000; 22;67(18):2257-65, Siméon A., Wegrowski Y., Bontemps Y., Maquart F.X. Expression of glycosaminoglycans and small proteoglycans in wounds: modulation by the tripeptide-copper complex glycyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine-Cu(2 ). J. Invest. Dermatol. 2000;115(6):962-8.


44. Hitzig G. Enhanced healing and growth in hair transplantation using copper peptides, Cosmetic Dermatol 2000; 13, 18-21.

45. McCormack M.C., Nowak K.C., Koch R.J., The effect of copper tripeptide and tretinoin on growth factor production in a serum-free fibroblast model, Arch Facial Plast Surg 2001,3:28-32

46. Leyden J., Stephens T., Finkey M.B., Appa Y., Barkovic S., Skin Care Benefits of Copper Peptide Containing Facial Cream. Amer Academy Dermat Meeting, February 2002, Abstract P68.

47. Leyden J., Stephens T., Finkey M.B., Barkovic S. Skin Care Benefits of Copper Peptide Containing Eye Creams. Amer Academy Dermat Meeting, February 2002, Abstract P69

48. Smakhtin M.Y., Sever’yanova L.A., Konoplya A.I., Shveinov I.A. Tripeptide Gly-His-Lys is a hepatotropic and immuno-suppressor. Bull. Exp. Biol. Med. 2002 Jun; 133(6):586-8.

49.Smakhtin M.I., Konoplia A.I., Sever’ianova L.A., Sheveinov I.A. Pharmacological correction of immuno-metabolic disorders with the peptide Gly-His-Lys in hepatic damage induced by tetrachloromethane. Patol Fiziol Eksp Ter. 2003 Apr-Jun; (2):19-21

50. Canapp SO Jr, Farese JP, Schultz GS, Gowda S, Ishak AM, Swaim SF, Vangilder J, Lee-Ambrose L, Martin FG.The effect of topical tripeptide-copper complex on healing of ischemic open wounds. Vet Surg. 2003;32(6):515-23.

51. Canapp S.O. Jr., Farese J.P., Schultz G.S., Gowda S., Ishak A.M., Swaim S.F., Vangilder J., Lee-Ambrose L., Martin F.G. The effect of topical tripeptide-copper complex on healing of ischemic open wounds.Vet. Surg. 2003;32(6):515-23.

52. Maquart F.X., Bellon G., Pasco S., Monboisse J.C.. Matrikines in the regulation of extracellular matrix degradation. Biochimie. 2005 Mar-Apr;87(3-4):353-60.

53. Ahmed MR, Basha SH, Gopinath D, Muthusamy J, Jayakumar RJ, Initial upregulation of growth factors and inflammatory mediators during nerve regeneration in the presence of cell adhesive peptide-incorporated collagen tubes, J Peripher Nerv Syst. 2005, 10:17-30

54. Pollard J.D., Quan S., Kang T., Koch R.J. Effects of copper tripeptide on the growth and expression of growth factors by normal and irradiated fibroblasts. Arch. Facial Plast. Surg. 2005;7(1):27-31.

55. Finkley M.B., Appa Y., Bhandarkar S. Copper Peptide and Skin. Cosmeceuticals and Active Cosmetic, 2nd Edition, P. Eisner and H.I. Maibach (Eds.) Marcel Dekker, New York. 2005:549-563.

56. Arul V., Gopinath D., Gomathi K., Jayakumar R. Biotinylated GHK peptide incorporated collagenous matrix: A novel biomaterial for dermal wound healing in rats. J. Biomed Mater Res. B. Appl. Biomater. 2005;73(2):383-91.

57. Cangul I.T., Gul N.Y., Topal A., Yilmaz R. Evaluation of the effects of topical tripeptide-copper complex and zinc oxide on open-wound healing in rabbits.Vet. Dermatol. 2006;17(6):417-23

58. Beretta G, Artali R, Regazzoni L, Panigati M, Facino RM. Glycyl-histidyl-lysine (GHK) is a quencher of alpha,beta-4-hydroxy-trans-2-nonenal: a comparison with carnosine. insights into the mechanism of reaction by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, 1H NMR, and computational techniques. Chem Res Toxicol. 2007 Sep;20(9):1309-14.

59.Huang P.J., Huang Y.C., Su M.F., Yang T.Y., Huang J.R., Jiang C.P. In vitro observations on the influence of copper peptide aids for the LED photoirradiation of fibroblast collagen synthesis. Photomed. Laser Surg. 2007;25(3):183-90.

60. Arul V., Kartha R., Jayakumar R.A therapeutic approach for diabetic wound healing using biotinylated GHK incorporated collagen matrices. Life Sci. 2007 ;2;80(4):275-84.

61. Pyo H.K., Yoo H.G., Won C.H., Lee S.H., Kang Y.J., Eun H.C., Cho K.H., Kim K.H. The effect of tripeptide-copper complex on human hair growth in vitro. Arch Pharm Res. 2007;30(7):834-9.

62. Mazurowska L, Mojskin M. Biological activities of selected peptides: skin penetration ability of copper complexes with peptides. J Cosmet Sci. 2008:59-69.

63.Beretta G, Arlandini E, Artali R, Anton JM, Maffei Facino R. Acrolein sequestering ability of the endogenous tripeptide glycyl-histidyl-lysine (GHK): characterization of conjugation products by ESI-MSn and theoretical calculations. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2008 Jul 15;47(3):596-602

64. Gul N.Y., Topal A., Cangul I.T., Yanik K. The effects of topical tripeptide copper complex and helium-neon laser on wound healing in rabbits. Vet. Dermatol. 2008;19(1):7-14.

65. Kang Y.A., Choi H.R., Na J.I., Huh C.H., Kim M.J., Youn S.W., Kim K.H., Park K.C. Copper-GHK increases integrin expression and p63 positivity by keratinocytes. Arch. Dermatol. Res. 2009;301(4):301-6.

66. Gorouhi F., Maibach H.I. Role of topical peptides in preventing and treating aged skin. Int. J. Cosm. Sci., 2009;31:327-345.

67. Pickart L. Breakdown resistant copper peptides with improved wound healing actions. Wound Healing Society Meeting, Dallas, Texas, 2009, April 26-29.

68. Hong Y., Downey T., Eu K.W., Koh P.K., Cheah P.Y. A 'metastasis-prone' signature for early-stage mismatch-repair proficient sporadic colorectal cancer patients and its implications for possible therapeutics. Clin Exp Metastasis. 2010;27(2):83-90

69. Hostynek J.J., Dreher F., Maibach H.I. Human skin retention and penetration of a copper tripeptide in vitro as function of skin layer towards anti-inflammatory therapy. Inflamm Res. 2010;59(11):983-8.

70. Hostynek J.J., Dreher F., Maibach H.I. Human skin penetration of a copper tripeptide in vitro as a function of skin layer. Inflamm Res. 2011;60(1):79-86.

71. Hureau C., Eury H., Guillot R., Bijani C., Sayen S., Solari P.L., Guillon E., Faller P., Dorlet P. X-ray and solution structures of Cu(II) GHK and Cu(II) DAHK complexes: influence on their redox properties. Chem. Eur. J., 2011, 17, 10151-60.

72. Yokawa K, Kagenishi T, Kawano T. Prevention of oxidative DNA degradation by copper-binding peptides. Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2011;75(7):1377-9.


Dr. Pickart
Clinical trials
Skin Care
Sensitive skin
Skin Remodeling