BCP-157 is a 15 amino-acid-long peptide derived from a much longer molecule known as body protection compound (BPC). BPC was originally isolated from human gastric secretions and has been found to accelerate healing in number of different animal models and in a number of different tissues. It is currently being investigated as therapeutic for tendon injury.
Healing Properties of BPC-157
BPC-157 has several unique properties that have made it a source of intensive study. Most important among those effects is that BPC-157 accelerates healing. It isn’t entirely clear by what mechanism BPC-157 produces its restorative effect, but it is known to promote healing in skin, muscle, bone, ligament, and tendon. Animal studies suggest that the healing effects of BPC-157 may be mediated by fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are found outside of cells and make up a large portion of the collagen in connective tissues such as muscle, bone, and tendon. Fibroblasts are known to play a role in growth and healing and are stimulated to divide when injury occurs.
Recent research suggests that at least part of the mechanism of action of BPC-157 may result from an upregulation of growth hormone receptor expression in fibroblasts1 . By increasing growth hormone receptor density, BPC-157 can be thought of as increasing the potency of growth hormone, which has known healing and reparative effects.
Studies, primarily in rat models, indicate that BPC-157 may also encourage migration of fibroblasts by promoting expression of genes that regulate actin filament production2 . In other words, BPC-157 not only increases fibroblast response to growth hormone, but stimulates fibroblast ability to move to sites of injury and initiate repair. It may also play a role in fibroblast survival, allowing them to live longer and thus perform their healing functions for longer periods of time following injury.
One of the unique benefits of BPC-157 is that it is stable in gastric acid. That means that the peptide can be consumed orally and does not need to be injected. In fact, BPC-157 is often simply mixed in water during animal studies.
BPC-157 promotes healing in connective tissues throughout the body. Though most research has been confined to bone, tendon, and ligament injuries, fibroblasts are also found in vascular tissue, skin, the GI tract, and the lungs. In the future, BPC-157 may prove to be a useful healing accelerator for a variety of injuries from tendon tears to vascular ruptures. To date, no adverse effects have been described with BPC-157.
- Chang, C.-H., Tsai, W.-C., Hsu, Y.-H. & Pang, J.-H. S. Pentadecapeptide BPC 157 enhances the growth hormone receptor expression in tendon fibroblasts. Mol. Basel Switz.19, 19066-19077 (2014).
- Chang, C.-H., Tsai, W.-C., Lin, M.-S., Hsu, Y.-H. & Pang, J.-H. S. The promoting effect of pentadecapeptide BPC 157 on tendon healing involves tendon outgrowth, cell survival, and cell migration. J. Appl. Physiol. Bethesda Md 1985110, 774-780 (2011).