Bone Density

Peptides for Bone Healing Research

Peptide Therapies Show Promise for Accelerating Fracture Repair

Our bones are the foundation of our bodies, protecting vital organs like the brain and heart while providing a solid structure against which muscles can work. They are also responsible for producing most of our red blood cells and play a critical role in the immune system. Bone problems are becoming more prevalent, however, and this has led researchers to investigate potential means of mitigating these problems. Peptides have emerged as one of the forerunners in the fight to preserve bone health with peptides like ipamorelin, transforming-growth factor-beta, bone morphogenic proteins, and others showing a great deal of promise.


Increasing Prevalence of Bone Problems

Despite the common perception of bones as static, and unchanging structures, research has shown them to be exceptionally dynamic. Bone isn’t simply deposited as we grow and then stops, but rather is in a constant state of flux. The balance between bone growth and bone breakdown is necessary to maintain blood calcium levels, allow bones to respond to changes in stressors, promote bone healing following injury, and much more. As it turns out, diseases that affect bone are actually diseases that alter this careful balance and thus treating them is more complex than simply encouraging bones to grow.

Bone deterioration and disease are becoming more and more commonplace for several reasons. First, as the population ages the incidence of bone-related diseases like osteoporosis is increasing as well[1]. Aging is the single greatest risk factor for bone loss, but it isn’t the only contributor to the problem. Other reasons for increased bone disease include vitamin D deficiency, increased prevalence of diseases that impact bone health, increasing use of medications that degrade bone health, nutritional issues, and increasingly sedentary lifestyles.

Of course, bone loss and degradation are not the only problems to confront our skeletal system. Fractures that result from trauma are also a major cause of lost time at work as well as lost quality time. Many fractures take eight to twelve weeks to heal, so anything that can be done to speed up this recovery process would help to drive down both societal and medical costs.


Protecting Bone Health

Speeding up bone healing following injury, preventing bone loss that results from aging or disease, and restoring bone health following illness have long-been targets of research. Medications like bisphosphonates (e.g., Fosamax) have been in use for a very long time, but can only stabilize bones to prevent further loss without having much impact on bone healing. The same is true of selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), hormone replacement therapy, and calcitonin injections. In recent years, bone healing research has shifted away from simply preventing bone damage toward encouraging healing and stimulating bone growth. To that end, medications like recombinant parathyroid hormone (PTH) and monoclonal antibodies like Denosumab have been developed.

On the cutting edge of bone healing research, however, are peptides. These small chains of amino acids have shown promise in restoring balance to the skeletal system, helping to overcome many of the drawbacks of the medications listed above while still offering many benefits. Here is a look at some of the peptides for bone healing research.


Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs)

BMPs are a group of growth factors that stimulate bone formation and regeneration. BMP-2 and BMP-7 are commonly used in clinical applications to promote bone healing, particularly in cases of nonunion fractures and spinal fusions. These proteins essentially work by mimicking the cellular events that take place during embryonic development[2]. While these peptides certainly have their place in the clinical setting, their use is not without complications. First, the delivery of BMPs generally requires that they are embedded in a mesh or gel preparation. This, combined with the challenge of their synthetic production, makes these peptides expensive. Second, BMPs can lead to excessive or ectopic bone growth that can lead to additional complications.


Body Protection Compound 157 (BPC-157)

BPC-157 is a synthetic peptide that has shown promise in various biological processes, including tissue healing and repair. While BPC-157 is primarily recognized for its regenerative effects on the gastrointestinal system, there is emerging evidence suggesting it has potential benefits for bone healing and bone-related conditions. Studies on animal models have demonstrated that BPC-157 can accelerate bone healing and enhance the repair of bone fractures. It appears to enhance bone mineral density and improve bone strength by stimulating osteoblast activity (bone formation) while suppressing osteoclast activity (bone resorption). BPC-157 has also shown potential in animal studies for the treatment of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by reduced bone density and increased fracture risk. It appears to enhance bone mineral density and improve bone strength, potentially through the stimulation of osteoblast activity and suppression of osteoclast activity[3].

BPC-157 is also known to promote angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, which can enhance the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to injured bone, aiding in the healing process. This also appears to play a role in the ability of BPC-157 to reduce inflammation, which is also known to benefit bone formation.



Ipamorelin is a member of the growth hormone-releasing peptide (GHRP) family of peptides. Specifically, it is a derivative of GHRP-6, which is itself a derivative of ghrelin. While Ipamorelin is primarily known for its growth hormone-releasing properties and its potential applications in the field of anti-aging, its direct effects on bone health and healing are still an area of ongoing research. Ipamorelin has been shown to increase bone mineral density (BMD) in animal studies by enhancing bone formation and reducing bone resorption[4]. It has also been found to stimulate collagen synthesis, which could be beneficial for bone healing and other repair processes.

Perhaps most important in its bone healing effects is the fact that Ipamorelin has demonstrated the ability to promote the differentiation and proliferation of osteoblasts, the cells responsible for bone formation. By increasing osteoblast activity, Ipamorelin may facilitate bone healing and regeneration[5].

As an added benefit, Ipamorelin may also help to fight inflammation. Inflammation plays a significant role in bone healing and the resolution of bone-related conditions. Some research suggests that Ipamorelin may possess anti-inflammatory properties, which could contribute to improved bone healing outcomes[6].


Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1)

Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 plays a crucial role in bone development, growth, and remodeling. Produced in the liver in response to growth hormone, IGF-1 acts as a key mediator of the effects of GH on bone cells and has significant impacts on bone health.  Research shows that IGF-1 promotes the proliferation and differentiation of osteoblasts, the cells responsible for bone formation. It stimulates the synthesis of collagen and other components of the bone matrix, leading to increased bone formation and mineralization. In fact, as a GH secretagogue, Ipamorelin may enhance the synthesis and release of IGF-1. Thus, ipamorelin’s effects on IGF-1 may account for ipamorelin’s exceptional effects on bone health.

IGF-1 is especially involved in the process of bone healing and repair following fractures or other bone injuries. It stimulates the recruitment and differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells into osteoblasts, promoting the formation of new bone tissue at the site of injury. It influences the balance between bone resorption and bone formation, which is essential for the maintenance of bone health as well as the repair of bones following injury. It works in coordination with other factors to regulate the activity of osteoblasts and osteoclasts, ensuring the proper remodeling and turnover of bone tissue.


Parathyroid Hormone (PTH)

PTH is a peptide hormone produced by the parathyroid glands. It plays a vital role in maintaining calcium and phosphorus balance in the body and is involved in regulating bone metabolism as a result. Its primary role is to increase blood calcium levels, which it does by stimulating the release of calcium from bones. This, of course, doesn’t seem like a good way to promote bone healing. As it turns out, however PTH has bimodal effects. When administered continuously, the peptide causes bone loss. When administered intermittently, however, PTH causes bone deposition. These contradictory effects are explained by the role of PTH in stimulating both osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Research shows that administration of the peptide every 6 hours is ideal for stimulating bone growth[7].


Thymosin Beta-4 (Tβ4)

Animal studies have shown that Tβ4 administration can promote bone healing and accelerate the repair of bone fractures. It appears to stimulate the migration and differentiation of osteoblasts, enhancing bone formation and regeneration. It has also been shown to inhibit osteoclast differentiation and therefore reduce the ability of these cells to break down bone[8]. Tβ4 also has anti-inflammatory effects, which can support the healing process by reducing excessive inflammation at the site of injury.

Like BPC-157, Tβ4 is a naturally occurring peptide found in various tissues. It has shown promise in animal models of osteoporosis. It has been found to increase bone mineral density and improve bone microarchitecture, suggesting potential benefits for the treatment of osteoporosis and prevention of bone loss. It has also been shown to stimulate bone marrow proliferation, making it very important in protecting the immune system and the body’s ability to produce red blood cells[9].


Summary of Peptides for Bone Healing Research

The science of bone physiology has advanced rapidly in recent decades, helping scientists to better understand the very dynamic process of bone growth and remodeling. This research has yielded a number of breakthroughs, but continued research is continuing to uncover secrets that are helping scientists and doctors to protect bone health and restore it following insult. Peptides like BPC-157, bone morphogenetic protein, parathyroid hormone, and thymosin beta-4 are adding tools to the arsenal available to promote bone health. In the future, conditions like osteoporosis could be nearly eradicated as scientists learn how to better control the growth and breakdown of bone.



[1]          O. of the S. General (US), “The Frequency of Bone Disease,” in Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General, Office of the Surgeon General (US), 2004. Accessed: Jul. 11, 2023. [Online]. Available:

[2]          T. K. Sampath and S. Vukicevic, “Biology of bone morphogenetic protein in bone repair and regeneration: A role for autologous blood coagulum as carrier,” Bone, vol. 141, p. 115602, Dec. 2020, doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2020.115602.

[3]          B. Sebecić et al., “Osteogenic effect of a gastric pentadecapeptide, BPC-157, on the healing of segmental bone defect in rabbits: a comparison with bone marrow and autologous cortical bone implantation,” Bone, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 195–202, Mar. 1999, doi: 10.1016/s8756-3282(98)00180-x.

[4]          J. Svensson et al., “The GH secretagogues ipamorelin and GH-releasing peptide-6 increase bone mineral content in adult female rats,” J. Endocrinol., vol. 165, pp. 569–77, Jul. 2000.

[5]          P. B. Johansen et al., “Ipamorelin, a new growth-hormone-releasing peptide, induces longitudinal bone growth in rats,” Growth Horm. IGF Res. Off. J. Growth Horm. Res. Soc. Int. IGF Res. Soc., vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 106–113, Apr. 1999, doi: 10.1054/ghir.1999.9998.

[6]          E. N Mohammadi, T. Louwies, C. Pietra, S. R. Northrup, and B. Greenwood-Van Meerveld, “Attenuation of Visceral and Somatic Nociception by Ghrelin Mimetics,” J. Exp. Pharmacol., vol. 12, pp. 267–274, 2020, doi: 10.2147/JEP.S249747.

[7]          M. H. Kroll, “Parathyroid Hormone Temporal Effects on Bone Formation and Resorption,” Bull. Math. Biol., vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 163–188, Jan. 2000, doi: 10.1006/bulm.1999.0146.

[8]          S.-I. Lee, J.-K. Yi, W.-J. Bae, S. Lee, H.-J. Cha, and E.-C. Kim, “Thymosin Beta-4 Suppresses Osteoclastic Differentiation and Inflammatory Responses in Human Periodontal Ligament Cells,” PloS One, vol. 11, no. 1, p. e0146708, 2016, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146708.

[9]          L. C. Moscinski, P. H. Naylor, J. Oliver, and A. L. Goldstein, “Thymosin beta 4 synergizes with human granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor in maintaining bone marrow proliferation,” Immunopharmacology, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 83–92, 1993, doi: 10.1016/0162-3109(93)90068-2.

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