Researchers at Anesthesia and Operation Center in Beijing hypothesized that ss31 could help improve and prevent LPS-induced cognitive impairment, and they were right. Find out how this peptide improves mitochondrial dysfunction.
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ss31 | Mitochondria-Targeted Peptide With Great Potential
Mitochondria and ss31
Survival depends on mitochondria. After all, that’s where our cells make energy.
When mitochondria don’t work the way it should, it causes awful and distressing symptoms, mainly in parts of the body that require the most energy such as the brain, nerve tissue, and muscles.
The implications of dysfunctional mitochondria are vast, from Parkinson’s and muscular dystrophy to learning and memory problems.
What’s more, mitochondria abnormalities tend to become worse as we age. And, while the exact reasons are unclear, accumulated damage seems to be a factor.
A new study found that ss31, a mitochondria-targeted peptide, may protect and heal mitochondria damage. Notably, it has the potential to prevent perioperative neurocognitive disorder (PND).
What is perioperative neurocognitive disorder (PND)? PND is behavioral or cognitive changes that sometimes occur after anesthesia and surgery. It’s one of the most common postoperative complications, especially in the elderly.
SS-peptides are reactive oxygen species (ROS) scavengers that inhibit ROS before they can damage vital parts of the cell.
Besides, SS-peptide antioxidants are amino acids with four strings. As a result, these peptides are remarkably cell-permeable, and mitochondria suck them up like sponges, delivering antioxidants to the inside of a cell.
Study Uncovers How ss31 Works
Dysfunctional mitochondria cause oxidative stress that may lead to neurocognitive disorders. The study focused on lipopolysaccharide (LPS) induced oxidative stress and inflammation, leading to memory and learning difficulties.
What is lipopolysaccharide(LPS)? LPS is part of the cell wall that activates the innate immune response to infections. It causes oxidative stress, cell death, and inflammatory response.
Previous research shows LPS causes oxidative stress, inflammatory changes, and neural cell death. The hippocampus is one of the brain areas that are most vulnerable to LPS induced oxidative stress.
Researchers looked at how ss31 improves mitochondria dysfunction in five key areas:
- Memory impairment
- Mitochondria function
- Cell apoptosis (cell death)
- Oxidative stress and inflammation
- BDFN pathways
Firstly, the study looked at the effects of ss31 on hippocampus-dependent learning and memory using animal models.
During the study, mice learned how to locate food in a maze. The mice exposed to LPS took longer to find the food than the control group. However, after receiving peptides, they returned to the pre-LPS speed.
They also note that ss31 increased long-term fear memory.
Mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) indicates mitochondrial activity. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is the energy mitochondria creates and the fuel our cells need to function.
Changes in MMP enable cells to communicate with each other. It also passes ATP back and forth. Low MMP may cause cells to send the wrong signals and lead to decreased ATP production.
According to the study, ss31 protected the brain from mitochondria dysfunction because it maintains MMP and ATP levels. As a result, it protects cell integrity.
Oxidative Stress and Inflammation
Oxidative stress is the imbalance between reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cellular antioxidant defenses. Unchecked ROS leads to cell damage.
The brain creates high levels of ROS because it uses a lot of energy. It also has a relatively weak antioxidant defense, making it more susceptible to oxidative damage.
Oxidative stress goes hand in hand with inflammation, which aggravates cell damage.
ss31 has a protective effect because it keeps ROS in check and suppresses the body’s inflammatory response.
Cell Apoptosis (Cell death)
When cells produce too much ROS, it inhibits electron transport. In turn, this may depolarize membranes and initiate cell death.
Because ss31 removes ROS, it prevents cell death pathways from activating. In doing so, it protects against mitochondrial dysfunction.
Brain-derived neuropathic factor (BDNF) is a protein that supports existing neurons and encourages the growth and synapses of new neurons.
BDNF has direct implications in the brain’s ability to facilitate calcium ion influx.
Mitochondria attract and store positively charged molecules, such as calcium ions. Yet, calcium overload causes permanent membrane damage.
Peptides are also positively charged, but they’re much gentler. Which means they snuggle up next to mitochondria and protect it from more damaging molecules.
Improving and preventing mitochondrial dysfunction may treat a variety of conditions. Due to ss31 peptide’s ability to cross the brain-blood barrier, it may be particularly beneficial at preventing age-related cognitive decline. It has the potential to slow down aging as well.
Besides it’s neuroprotective and anti-aging traits, SS-peptides could treat and prevent:
- Muscular diseases
- Kidney disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Traumatic brain injury
Pro Tip: Some peptides enhance the function of the entire body, treating a variety of conditions, from hair loss to muscle building, and more.
Because of their broad effects on cellular functions, mitochondrial dysfunction may cause a wide range of diseases. Based on these findings, ss31 protects mitochondria in many ways, such as maintaining MMP and ATP levels, enhancing BDNF pathways, lowers oxidative stress, inflammation, and cell death. Understanding how ss31 protects mitochondria can have a vast impact on how we treat diseases, especially cognitive conditions.
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Source: Elamipretide (SS-31) improves mitochondrial dysfunction, synaptic and memory impairment induced by lipopolysaccharide in mice – jneuroinflammation.biomedcentral.com