AHK-Cu is a peptide composed of amino acids alanine, histidine, and lysine, with a copper ion attached to its histidine residue.(1) This peptide is naturally present in the bloodstream of mammals and has been identified as a crucial element in regulating the growth, development, and apoptosis of vascular endothelial cells.
AHK-Cu, also known as copper AHK, has been researched for its potential in hair growth and inhibiting skin aging. This peptide has been suggested to exhibit its potential primarily on fibroblasts, responsible for maintaining and growing the Extracellular Matrix (ECM) surrounding the cells. Fibroblasts also secrete various biological substances, including the Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), which promotes the formation of new blood vessels.
The copper ion in AHK-Cu may be involved in the enzyme activity which enables collagen and elastin synthesis. These two proteins are critical components of the extracellular matrix and play a crucial role in maintaining the skin’s structural integrity. Copper ions typically exhibit antioxidant properties as well.
AHK-Cu Chemical Makeup(2)
Molecular Formula: C15H24ClCuN6O4
Molecular Weight: 451.39 g/mol
Other known titles:
- L-Alanyl-κN-L-histidyl-κN,κN3-L-lysinato(2-)]copper Monohydrochloride
Research and Clinical Studies
AHK-Cu Peptide and Hair Growth
Researchers posit that the tripeptide AHK-Cu may potentially stimulate the proliferation of dermal fibroblasts, a type of cell that produces substances like vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which are crucial for the growth of blood vessels. AHK-Cu may also reduce the secretion of transforming growth factor-beta1 by dermal fibroblasts.
In a recent study,(3) the potential of AHK-Cu on hair growth was investigated. It was suggested that the peptide may promote the elongation of hair follicles and the proliferation of dermal papilla cells, which are specialized fibroblasts important for the growth and development of hair follicles. Moreover, results suggested that the presence of AHK-Cu may have reduced the number of apoptotic dermal papilla cells. Further analysis suggested that the peptide may have increased the ratio of Bcl-2/Bax, and potentially decreased cleaved caspase-3 and PARP levels, two markers of cell death. Based on these findings, the researchers state, “The present study proposed that AHK-Cu promotes the growth of […] hair follicles, and this stimulatory effect may occur due to stimulation of the proliferation and the preclusion of the apoptosis of DPCs.”(3)
AHK-Cu Peptide and Alopecia
The study examined the efficacy of two formulations containing growth factors and peptides such as vascular endothelial growth factor, basic fibroblast growth factor, insulin-like growth factor-1, keratinocyte growth factor, and copper tripeptide 1, suspended in a sterile vehicle. The study investigated the cytotoxicity of these factors using in vitro keratinocyte and fibroblast cell assays. The formulations were then tested in animals for hair growth and hair follicle viability in cases of secondary alopecia.(1)
Results suggested that both formulations produced a positive response regarding hair growth in the animals. The formulations also were posited to be impactful when tested alongside a chemotherapeutic agent. Researchers Rinky Kapoor et al. state, “Results seem encouraging enough to warrant a trial in [subjects] with secondary alopecia, post-cancer chemotherapy.” (1)
AHK-Cu Peptide and Skin
AHK-Cu peptide has been suggested by researchers to positively impact dermal rejuvenation through collagen synthesis and extracellular matrix maintenance, while potentially reducing inflammatory cytokines. Furthermore, the peptide may encourage blood vessel growth and combat cell death by limiting apoptosis in dermal fibroblasts.(4)
The study evaluated the potential of AHK-Cu on skin elasticity, hydration, and wrinkling. The results indicated that AHK-Cu might significantly improve skin elasticity and hydration while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. The results also indicated that AHK-Cu might promote wound healing in rats by increasing collagen synthesis and angiogenesis. Furthermore, researchers suggest AHK-Cu may potentially enhance the proliferation of skin cells and increase the production of collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid, essential components for maintaining healthy and youthful skin.
AHK-Cu peptide is available for research and laboratory purposes only. Please review and adhere to our Terms and Conditions before ordering.
- Kapoor R, Shome D, Vadera S, Kumar V, Ram MS. QR678 & QR678 Neo Hair Growth Formulations: A Cellular Toxicity & Animal Efficacy Study. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2020 Aug 25;8(8):e2843. doi: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000002843. PMID: 32983753; PMCID: PMC7489598. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7489598/
- AHK-Cu, ChemBK. https://www.chembk.com/en/chem/AHK-Cu
- Pyo HK, Yoo HG, Won CH, Lee SH, Kang YJ, Eun HC, Cho KH, Kim KH. The effect of tripeptide-copper complex on human hair growth in vitro. Arch Pharm Res. 2007 Jul;30(7):834-9. doi: 10.1007/BF02978833. PMID: 17703734. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17703734/
- Sadgrove NJ, Simmonds MSJ. Topical and nutricosmetic products for healthy hair and dermal anti-aging using “dual-acting” (2 for 1) plant-based peptides, hormones, and cannabinoids. FASEB Bioadv. 2021 Jun 6;3(8):601-610. doi: 10.1096/fba.2021-00022. PMID: 34377956; PMCID: PMC8332470. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8332470/
NOTE: These products are intended for laboratory research use only. AHK-Cu (topical) for sale (200mg) is not intended for personal use. Please review and adhere to our Terms and Conditions before ordering.
Dr. Marinov (MD, Ph.D.) is a researcher and chief assistant professor in Preventative Medicine & Public Health. Prior to his professorship, Dr. Marinov practiced preventative, evidence-based medicine with an emphasis on Nutrition and Dietetics. He is widely published in international peer-reviewed scientific journals and specializes in peptide therapy research.