Syn-AKE is the proprietary name of a peptide that is also referred to as tripeptide-3 or dipeptide diaminobutyroyl benzylamide diacetate. What makes Syn-AKE so interesting is that it is a protein fragment from the venom of the Malaysian Temple Viper. It is able to reduce signal transmission between nerves and muscles. It works in a manner similar to Botox to relax muscles and thus lessen wrinkles in skin in animal models .
Sequence (Three-Letter Code): β-Ala-Pro-Dab-NHBn .2Acetate
Molecular formula: C23H37N5O7
Molecular weight: 495.57 g/mol
Syn-AKE is under active investigation for its ability to reduce neuromuscular signaling in animal models and thus reduce muscle contractile activity. This action is similar to that of Botox and while Botox is often associated with cosmetic applications, the toxin (derived from bacteria) actually has multiple medical applications.
Botox is FDA-approved for treatment of things like prostate hyperplasia, smooth muscle disorders, Parkinson disease, depression, migraine headaches, dystonia, hemifacial spasms, and exocrine gland hyperactivity . Peptides like Syn-AKE can be administered topically in animal models while Botox generally has to be injected. There is hope that topical neuromuscular antagonists may one day be used for some of the things that Botox is currently approved for, making administration easier and allowing for at-home use.
What Is Syn-AKE?
Syn-AKE is a synthetic version of a protein known as Waglerin 1. Waglerin 1, which is 21 amino acids in length, is a protein venom produced by the Malaysian Temple Viper (Tropidolaemus wagleri), a venomous snake found in southeast Asia. The venom of the Temple Viper can paralyze its prey by interfering with signaling between nerves and muscles. Syn-AKE does the same thing but in a controlled form. Syn-AKE is only three amino acids in length, making use of only the active portion of the Waglerin 1 protein. Note the play on the word “snake” in the Syn-AKE (pronounced “Sin ache”) name.
What Does Syn-AKE Do?
Syn-AKE is a competitive antagonist of the muscular nicotinic acetylcholine receptor . Acetylcholine is the neurotransmitter used to send electrical signals from nerves to muscles. Without acetylcholine, muscles do not receive signals to contract and thus remain in a relaxed state. By blocking the acetylcholine receptor, Syn-AKE is able to block normal neuromuscular signaling and prevent muscle contractions. This, in turn, keeps facial muscles relaxed and can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. This is the same mechanism that makes Botox successful. The muscle relaxation caused by Syn-AKE is 100% reversible.
Syn-AKE Research on Smoothing Wrinkles
Preparations of Syn-AKE for topical application have been tested in animal models in concentrations that range from 1-4%. These preparations have produced excellent results, smoothing the appearance of mimic wrinkles and expression lines just a short time after the preparation is applied . Research shows that Syn-AKE can reduce the appearance of wrinkles by up to 52% when a 4% topical solution is used . This would make Syn-AKE more effective than Botox .
1. Pickut, W. & Pickut, W. Side Effects of Syn-Ake. LIVESTRONG.COM Available at: http://www.livestrong.com/article/298145-side-effects-of-syn-ake/. (Accessed: 29th July 2016)
2. Chhipa, N. M. R. & Chaudhari, B. TOXIN AS A MEDICINE. Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Nadim_Chhipa/publication/269037373_TOXIN_AS_A_MEDICINE/links/547dfbf70cf241bf4b5b9b40.pdf. (Accessed: 29th July 2016)
3. Balaev, A. N., Okhmanovich, K. A. & Osipov, V. N. A shortened, protecting group free, synthesis of the anti-wrinkle venom analogue Syn-Ake® exploiting an optimized Hofmann-type rearrangement. Tetrahedron Lett. 55, 5745–5747 (2014).
4. ZHMAK, M. N. et al. Peptide inhibitors of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. (2015).
5. Trookman, N. S., Rizer, R. L., Ford, R., Ho, E. & Gotz, V. Immediate and Long-term Clinical Benefits of a Topical Treatment for Facial Lines and Wrinkles. J. Clin. Aesthetic Dermatol. 2, 38–43 (2009).