Trefoil peptides: a New approach to the treatment of chronic diseases

Special peptides effective against chronic gastro-intestinal diseases?

The treatment of chronic gastro-intestinal disorders is in practice often difficult. Researchers from the University of Vienna have now, however, a new approach in the visor, with the improved wound healing in the digestive tract appears to be within reach – the so-called trefoil peptides.

The information provided by the Austrian research team stated that trefoil peptides play a key role in the protection and healing of the intestine. Their therapeutic potential is promising. The Team of Markus Muttenthaler from the faculty of chemistry of the University of Vienna has pointed out in a recent Overview paper, the previous knowledge and the open questions on the topic of trefoil peptides. Their results were published in the journal “Trends in Biochemical Sciences„, published.

Gut peptides affecting wound healing

Chronic inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis or irritable bowel syndrome are the result of a barrier according to the scientists, in General, to a disturbed Intestinal. The barrier will get more permeable, and external invaders, such as bacteria inside the body. In several studies it had already become clear that the three known trefoil peptides (Trefoil factor peptides; TFF-peptides: TFF1, TFF2, TFF3) in particular, in the Regulation and protection of the intestinal mucosa, the gastrointestinal mucosa, play a key role. As intestinal peptides lead to an improved gastro-intestinal wound healing, remain so far unclear.

Peptides are important signal molecules in biology, which regulate many physiological functions and many diseases are involved, the experts explain in a communication from the University of Vienna. The trefoil peptide family, consisting of small peptides, all of which have a characteristic cloverleaf-like folding structure, which differentiates it from other peptides.

Molecular mechanisms are so far unclear

According to Muttenthaler, the molecular mechanism by which trefoil peptides lead to the wound healing is, however, still unclear and in its 2017 launched ERC Starting Grant-project of the medicinal chemist is trying to the wound healing mechanism to educate and TFF to synthesize peptides as the basis for new treatment strategies in chronic intestinal diseases. The therapeutic potential of TFF have already shown in first clinical studies in connection with inflammation of the oral mucosa, which can occur in cancer patients following a chemotherapy, according to the University of Vienna.

The function of the peptides is currently under investigation

It remains unclear how TFF-peptides, for example, of intestinal receptors to bind and intestinal diseases can be used. However, the research team is currently developing various TFF samples that can react with the as-yet-unknown receptors are covalent Compounds. So you want to gain new insights into the function of this interesting peptide family, and hope to develop new therapeutic approaches for gastrointestinal diseases. “The TFF-peptides are a innovative way for a novel drug design,” stresses Muttenthaler.

Peptide drugs so far, with a low market share

Peptides are, in General, highly potent and selective, and cause hardly any side effects, reported the research team. A better understanding of this peptide family, will make it possible to develop new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of gastro-intestinal disorders. So far, about 70 peptide therapeutics on the market, accounting for three percent of the pharmaceutical market as a whole. “There are a lot of potential for this proportion to erhöhen“, so Muttenthaler.

Great potential for the future

A barrier in the case of the previous use of the peptide drugs, see the researchers in the nature of the administration. Because the drugs cannot be taken orally because they would be digested in the intestine too quickly. The majority of previously available peptide drugs must be injected. If this so-called “Peptide-Drug-Delivery-Problem”, however, it was to be assumed, “is that peptide drugs are the drug of choice for many diseases, since they generally have fewer side effects,” the conclusion of Muttenthaler. (fp)

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