Parkinson’s Disease

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. Basically, anything with less than fifty amino acids is considered a peptide. A dipeptide is made up of 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.

Parkinson's Disease
Extensive researches is being undertaken by different research bodies to identify the medical uses of peptides. According to a recent interview on American Science Labs with Bruno Meloni PhD from the Center for Neuromuscular and Neurology, The University of Western Australia, Nedlands, it has been discovered that peptides may be used to reduce the brain damage which results after stroke. The study was conducted due to lack of clinically available neuroprotective drugs which can be used to minimize brain injury after stroke.  In the research, the institute was using arginine-rich peptides for a number of 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 research institute discovered that peptides rich in poly-arginine or arginines possessed potential neuroprotective properties. They also discovered that the arginine neuroprotective properties increased with the increase in the length of the poly-arginine peptide. The research has so far managed to confirm that a poly-arginine peptide can reduce brain damage when administered up to one hour after stroke using laboratory animal stroke model. The results of these findings can also be used to reduce brain damage resulting from other acute brain disorders including traumatic Brain Injury and Perinatal Hypoxia-ischemia.

Another research on peptides suggests that using synthetic peptides, it’s now possible to slow the progression of the Parkinson’s disease. The man-made peptide stops faulty protein fibrils from being formed. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that is caused by brain cells that release a chemical known as dopamine that is used for controlling movement and conveying messages. Statistics suggest 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. This happens when faulty protein fibrils are formed in the brain thus killing the brain cells which produce dopamine. This means that by stopping the formation of faulty protein membrane, the synthetic peptide is able to slow down the progression of the Parkinson’s disease. This new study is led by the University of Bath and funded by the Parkinson’s UK. During the study, researchers discovered that their man made peptides sticks to a misshapen α- synuclein and subsequently stops it from stacking in to the fibrils that kill of the brain cells that produce dopamine. The Peptide matches α – synuclein region that is mutated in Parkinson’s. To make the peptide-that is made up of 10 amino acids, the team went through the painstaking process of researching peptides of the ones that could match α – synuclein region that is mutated in the early stages of Parkinson’s. According to the study leader Dr Jody Mason from the Bath Department of Biology and Biochemistry, the work is still on 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 findings on recent researches on peptides have made the world to view peptides in an entirely new light. It is no longer considered an anti-aging product. Now peptides are being considered 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 reduce the brain damage which makes stroke so fatal. The synthetic peptide used to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease can also be used to produce the cure of Parkinson’s disease if the studies are successful enough.

Peptides: Medical Breakthrough

There is no doubt about the fact that lifespan has increased thanks to availability of better medication, but correspondingly the categories of ailments have also changed. Most of the ailments that afflict modern men and women are metabolic disorders or have origins in metabolic disorders. Diabetes and obesity are more common now than they were merely a century ago, thanks to sedentary lifestyle. Cancers have also increased due to many man made factors. Conventional medicines have undoubtedly helped, but not eliminated such problems. In fact, there are side effects to consider with conventional medications. Researchers are, therefore, investigating new and natural peptides to provide solution to these modern health problems. Insulin, interferon, cyclosporin, and octreotide are some of the peptide based treatments that are now available to mankind.


Any peptide consists of a few molecules of amino acids that are interlinked. Like in any organic acid, there is a carboxyl group that is linked to the chain of carbons forming the amino acid. This carboxyl group consists of a carbon linked to two oxygen atoms. The carbon atom forms a double bond with one of those oxygen atoms, whereas the other oxygen is left with some negative charge because the carbon is linked to another carbon in the amino acid chain. Amino acids also have characteristic NH3 or the amino group in them. Unlike the carboxyl group, this group is positively charged part of the amino acid molecule, again linked to a carbon in the amino acid chain. It bonds with negatively charged oxygen. Such bonding usually occurs between different amino acids, effectively linking molecules of such acids. In general, a peptide consists of 2 or more such amino acids, but usually the maximum number of such amino acids in any peptide is 10.

The bond between negatively charged oxygen and positively charged NH3 is not cemented. Therefore, the chain breaks fairly easily and another bond with another NH3 or oxygen may be formed depending upon how close such a negatively or positively charged part comes to this bond. There is no rule that all amino acids in the group should be the same. Therefore, different amino acids may be linked together using the above linking system. The sequence in which such amino acids are linked also may vary from one peptide to another.

Technologies are now available for understanding spatial orientation of different atoms in the molecule in any compound, be it organic, or inorganic. Based on such technologies, it is possible to identify the structure of different parts of any amino acid, and therefore the peptide. All atoms in compounds have charges, positive or negative, which helps them bond with the other atoms or group of atoms of opposite charge. The number of such bonds is confined to the respective element’s valencies. Carbon atoms usually form chains unless they are aromatic compounds. However, charges keep moving, increasing the possibility of the bond becoming weaker. Spatial orientation of atoms in the amino acid is therefore subject to repulsion and affinity between atoms forming the compound. Amino acids are known for isomerization, oxydation, and glycosylation. Reactions vary because of these phenomenons.

Software tools are now available for assessing physicochemical properties of such compounds and predicting their usefulness as drugs. Such software tools predict the outcome without having to try the drug on patients, effectively saving research time and resources. However, the tool available as of now have limited capabilities because of limited libraries. Researchers are trying to develop libraries of crystalline structures of different naturally found peptides. Based on this information, it will become easier to understand physiological reactions with peptides and even with the possible secondary as well as tertiary manifestations of the peptide.

Using techniques of substitution, researchers intend to identify precisely the amino acid or acids that are more reactive in these peptides, and then utilize the properties of these amino acids as needed. Such substitution techniques will also help to substitute other compounds including other peptides in the chain and develop a recombinant drug for treating one or more health problem.

It is not as if peptides are without flaws. Treatment with peptides needs fine tuning because peptides do tend to remain closely knit, and also do not penetrate the cell’s wall easily. Peptides are also difficult to administer though new methods are being investigated. Human body is capable of breaking peptides down, especially if it does not understand why it is there. Researchers on peptides have a lot of work on their plate. What is certain is that any treatment that is eventually possible with these natural products would have fewer side effects, and be less painful than chemotherapy.

This article was provided by and is strictly for research and educational purposes.