Peptides and proteins as therapeutics have the advantage over other drugs of using a wide variety of targets with high specificity while having low levels of toxicity. Oftentimes the peptide or protein may be further modified chemically to improve its effectiveness in a biological system. In order to track useful and non-useful modifications and the plethora of peptides and proteins that have been studied, a new database of all FDA approved protein and peptide therapeutics has been collected into one place: THPdb.
One peptide drug already present in the THPdb database is oxytocin, also known as pitocin. Oxytocin is a peptide produced by the pituitary gland that acts as both a hormone and as a neurotransmitter in your brain. It is also prepared synthetically and used by medical doctors to induce labor. Oxytocin also regulates behavior in several ways, including maternal nurturing, control of anxiety, social recognition and attachment, and increasing trust. In addition, oxytocin receptor abnormalities have been linked to autism spectrum disorders, and oxytocin administration to some mouse autism spectrum disorder models was shown to improve behavior. In a recent study Ripamonti, et al, investigated the influence of oxytocin on brain development of fetal and early postnatal mice. They found that lack of oxytocin in these early stages led to autism spectrum disorder-like symptoms.
Cherepanov, et al, recently created modified versions of oxytocin, in the form of three versions of lipid conjugates, in an attempt to increase half-life to provide long-lasting effects and to improve transport across the blood-brain barrier. They were able to find one modification that did result in longer-lasting activity than the original oxytocin and may hold potential for further therapeutic development. With future progress of the THPdb database, useful modifications like these that help with common problems such as crossing the blood-brain barrier may be easier to track. Sorting and finding effective modifications in an efficient way would be a great help in developing new innovative peptide and protein therapies.
LKT Labs has a wide selection of peptide compounds, including oxytocin and many more. In addition to our catalog peptides, we can also provide custom peptide sequences synthesized to your needs.
Usmani SS, Bedi G, Samuel JS, et al. THPdb: Database of FDA-approved peptide and protein therapeutics. PLoS One. 2017 Jul 31;12(7):e0181748. PMID: 28759605. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0181748.
Ripamonti S, Ambrozkiewicz MC, Guzzi F, et al. Transient oxytocin signaling primes the development and function of excitatory hippocampal neurons. Elife. 2017 Feb 23;6.pii:e22466. PMID: 28231043. Doi: 10.7554/eLife.22466.
Cherepanov SM, Yokoyama S, Mizuno A, et al. Structure-specific effects of lipidated oxytocin analogs on intracellular calcium levels, parental behavior, and oxytocin concentrations in the plasma and cerebrospinal fluid in mice. Pharmacol Res Perspect. 2017 Jan 17;5(1):e00290. PMID: 28596839. Doi: 10.1002/prp2.290.