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.


The tripeptide-copper complex, described as a growth factor for various kinds of differentiated cells, stimulates the proliferation of dermal fibroblasts and elevates the production of vascular endothelial growth factor, but decreased the secretion of transforming growth factor-beta1 by dermal fibroblasts. Dermal papilla cells (DPCs) are specialized fibroblasts, which are important in the morphogenesis and growth of hair follicles. In the present study, the effects of L-alanyl-L-histidyl-L-lysine-Cu2+ (AHK-Cu) on human hair growth ex vivo and cultured dermal papilla cells were evaluated. AHK-Cu (10(-12) - 10(-9) M) stimulated the elongation of human hair follicles ex vivo and the proliferation of DPCs in vitro. Annexin V-fluorescein isothiocyanate/propidium iodide labeling and flow cytometric analysis showed that 10(-9) M AHK-Cu reduced the number of apoptotic DPCs, but this decrease was not statistically significant. The ratio of Bcl-2/Bax was elevated, and the levels of the cleaved forms of caspase-3 and PARP were reduced by treatment with 10(-9) M AHK-Cu. The present study proposed that AHK-Cu promotes the growth of human hair follicles, and this stimulatory effect may occur due to stimulation of the proliferation and the preclusion of the apoptosis of DPCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Blotting, Western
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects*
  • Fibroblasts / enzymology
  • Fibroblasts / metabolism
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Hair Follicle* / drug effects
  • Hair Follicle* / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Oligopeptides / pharmacology*
  • Organometallic Compounds / pharmacology*
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / biosynthesis
  • Skin / cytology
  • Skin / drug effects
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / biosynthesis


  • (alanyl-histidyl-lysine)copper(II)
  • BAX protein, human
  • Oligopeptides
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases
  • Caspase 3