Direct peptides are small, modified amino acids that are produced by the body in response to certain stimuli. These peptides are then used by cells to communicate with other cells in the body or outside of it, forming a complex network of information that is vital to human function and health. Some of the more popular peptides include collagen peptides, which may provide pro-aging support or boost skin health; and creatine peptides, which can help build strength and muscle mass. Many peptides are available in the form of supplements.
Peptides are smaller than proteins and are formed from amino acids, which are the building blocks of all living things. They are naturally found in foods such as meats, eggs, and dairy products. They have a variety of potential health benefits, including slowing the aging process, reducing inflammation, and even fighting off bacteria. Many people use peptides to improve their athletic performance or to aid weight loss.
A peptide can be any small segment of a protein, usually consisting of only one to six amino acid residues. Peptides can have a wide variety of effects, depending on the sequence of amino acid residues. They can affect the metabolism, signaling and growth of cells, as well as their interaction with other cells. Some peptides can act as hormones, helping to regulate the body’s hormone levels. In addition, some peptides are considered drugs because they have biological effects on the body and can be used to treat disease.
Among the most common applications of peptides are the creation of new pharmaceutical drugs and the discovery of natural products with therapeutic properties. These chemicals can be used in medical treatments, such as cancer drugs or anti-inflammatories, or as cosmetics, such as wrinkle creams. In addition, peptides can be used in research to find out what causes certain diseases.
An important application of peptides is in the area of environmental health, where they are used to test for the presence of chemical substances that can trigger allergic reactions. A commonly used test for the assessment of allergenicity is the in vivo direct peptide reactivity assay (DPRA). In this GLP service, the test item is incubated with cysteine and lysine containing peptides and the resulting depletion of these peptides is monitored using high-performance liquid chromatography. Based on this, the DPRA can classify chemicals into four reactivity categories and discriminate sensitisers from non-sensitisers.
In addition, the DPRA can also be used to assess the allergenicity of metal compounds such as platinum and gold, since the molecular initiating event for both skin and respiratory sensitisation is thought to involve the covalent binding of electrophilic substances to nucleophilic sites on proteins. The DPRA has been tested on several platinum compounds and has been shown to be a robust method for screening for skin and respiratory sensitisation in accordance with the OECD 442C guideline.