What You Need to Know About MGF Peptide
MGF peptide is an excellent, potent strength boosting peptide that helps build an energetic and youthful life.
It is a common fact that as people age, muscle strength and energy begin to decline. This is because with increasing age, the levels of growth hormones decrease, which apparently means that there is less IGF-1 gene to be spliced into MGF (1). This will be discussed later in this article.
Besides aging, there are several disorders such as muscle dystrophy that also leads to reduced MGF levels (1). In order to maintain muscle health and fitness, MGF peptide could be helpful leading to comparatively minimal side effects.
Brief on MGF
MGF stands for Mechano Growth Factor, and is an endogenous, naturally occurring peptide that belongs to the class of IGF-1 (insulin like growth factor) family (2).
What differentiates MGF from the systemic IGF-1 is that it contains 49 base pairs at exon 5 in its structural composition, which introduces a frameshift causing it to possess the unique characteristics (1). In other words, MGF is an isoform of IGF-1 and is also known as IGF-1Ec (3).
How Is MGF Produced in The Body?
IGF-1 undergoes splicing, or transcription, and produces three isoforms. IGF-1 undergoes splicing under stress conditions, such as during resistance exercise (4).
As a result of this splicing and due to the unique 49 base pair insert added to the peptide, it produces a mature isoform of IGF-1, mainly the MGF (4).
MGF then kick starts muscle hypertrophy leading to muscle damage repair and other anabolic processes that help regain muscle health and strength.
When Was MGF Discovered?
During IGF-1 research studies, the phenomenon of IGF-1 splicing and producing three different isoforms was known. The only factor differentiating the three isoforms is the amino acid sequence attached to the COOH terminal.
It was only in the late 1990s and early 2000s that the uniqueness of IGF-1Ec was brought to light when it was found that its levels increased drastically upon muscle injury (5).
How Does it Work?
As mentioned above, during muscle stress (such as exercise), the mature IGF-1 gene undergoes alternative splicing producing MGF.
It is believed that MGF then activates the muscle stem cells as a result of the stimulated amino acid sequence attached to the -COOH terminal of MGF. This stem cell activation leads to muscle repair and muscle hypertrophy (4,5).
What About The Functioning of Synthetic MGF?
There is a synthetic version of MGF peptide composed of 24 amino acids which are attached to the C-terminal of isolated MGF domain, called MGF-Ct24E peptide (6).
During the studies in early 2000s (6), it was seen that when MGF-Ct24E peptide was administered intramuscularly and systemically in mice, it led to muscle precursor cell proliferation. Muscle precursor cells are ‘satellite’ cells found in every myofiber, which proliferates to form new muscles.
This peptide demonstrated the ability to modulate the differentiation and proliferation of muscle precursor cells which is advantageous to muscle development and transplant.
What Are The Benefits of MGF?
Below listed are the therapeutic advantages of Mechano Growth Factor:
- Capability to repair damaged muscles
- Stimulates tissue repair, bone injury repair
- Promotes wound healing
- Capability to build new muscles
- Possess neuroprotective properties
- Possess cardioprotective characteristics
- Reduces muscle cell apoptosis (cell death)
Scientific Research Studies
Effects on Muscle Mass with Increased Age
The main aim of this study (7) was to determine the effects of the synthetic MGF peptide, namely MGF-24aa-E, on different aged human cells.
This was an in vitro study where different human muscle cell cultures were prepared for different ages ranging from neonatal to old adult muscles. Upon administering MGF-24aa-E to the cultures, the culture cells were then analyzed.
The results showed that there was significant cell proliferation in all cells isolated from neonatal to young adults, however, this was not the case in cells isolated from old adults. Muscle hypertrophy increased in the cells from old adults with a significant decrease in the reserve cells.
This study demonstrated that MGF-24aa-E could potentially assist in developing a strategy to overcome the age-related muscle tissue loss (sarcopenia) conditions.
Muscle Repair and Regeneration in Animals
The main aim of this study (8) was to evaluate the effects of MGF on skeletal muscle injury repair and healing.
This study was performed on mice that were experimentally induced with muscle contusion and muscular depletion. Mechano Growth Factor was administered to these subjects directly on the damaged muscles.
Upon analysis of the muscle tissues, it was seen that MGF administration reduced the expressions of inflammatory units such as cytokines and chemokines, and reduced stress factors. As a result, the rate of contused muscles declined, which induced long-term muscular repair of the wounded tissues.
This affirms that MGF helps to rebuild damaged muscle tissues and helps reduce oxidative stress.
Effects on Muscle Injury in Humans
The main purpose of this study (2) was to evaluate the effects of both endogenous (natural) and exogenous (synthetic) MGF on human damaged muscle cells.
This study was carried out on ten healthy male volunteers. Muscle biopsy samples were collected from all prior to experiment. As a part of the experiment, all volunteers were made subject to intense exercise leading to muscle damage to a low degree. Muscle biopsy samples were collected again at 6 hours, and at 2, 5, and 16 days of exercise.
Results showed that due to excessive exercise, there was an increased secretion of MGF in the body which led to muscle proliferation and repair. Similarly, when synthetic MGF was administered, it promoted these proliferative actions which led to the healing of damaged muscle tissues.
This study signified the importance of MGF in muscle repair and regeneration in humans, with promising tolerance and minimal side effects.
Sustained Delivery of MGF Demonstrating Anti-apoptotic Effects
The main purpose of this study (9) was to evaluate the effects of the Mechano Growth Factor on cell apoptosis, mainly the cardiac muscle cells suffering from hypoxia. Hypoxia, a condition characterized by limited supply of oxygen, potentially causes programmed cell death of the heart muscles.
Rats were experimentally induced with hypoxia by providing only 1% oxygen supply, thereby causing cellular apoptosis.
In order to stimulate a sustained release of MGF, a microrod delivery device was fabricated. This device was composed of PEGDMA hydrogel chemical and was loaded with MGF peptide. These injectable microrods possessed the same stiffness as of heart muscles and were the same size as of myocytes. These microrods were then injected into the rats.
Results showed that the microrods stimulated sustained, slow release of MGF into the heart muscles over 2 weeks. In this timeframe, it also stimulated the migration of stem cells to the heart in order to reverse the apoptosis.
This study shows that MGF microrods are effective in attracting stem cells and thereby reduce muscle cell apoptosis, and also stimulate cardiac muscle regeneration.
Effects on Skeletal Injury
The main aim of this study (10) was to evaluate the healing effects of MGF on bone injury.
27 rabbits were experimentally induced with a 5-mm bone defect and were then divided into three groups that were treated with one of the two different doses of MGF namely 28 microg/kg bodyweight and 57 microg/kg bodyweight, or with placebo for 5 consecutive days.
Upon examining the damaged bone cells, it was seen that the placebo treated tissue was the least healed whereas the bone tissue treated with the highest MGF dose was the most healed tissue. This was because increased MGF concentration led to higher cell proliferation rate which led to improved healing effects.
This study demonstrated that MGF is a potent peptide to treat and repair bone injuries, and that these MGF effects are potentially dose dependent.
Neuroprotective Effects Towards Brain Ischemia
The main purpose of this 2005 study (11) was to combat ischemic stroke in humans through the help of MGF peptides. The effects were studied both in vivo and in vitro.
In vivo studies were conducted on gerbil rodents suffering from brain ischemia. Synthetic Mechano Growth Factor peptide was administered to these rats as ischemic treatment. It was seen that MGF administration led to increased protection of the brain cells. Interestingly, in the same model, it was seen that ischemia led to elevated endogenous MGF production in the ischemia resistant neurons, which suggested that MGF has an important role to play to combat ischemic effects.
In vitro studies were carried out in degenerated hippocampal cell culture, to which MGF was added. Upon addition, MGF showed similar results of muscle proliferation and protection against further degeneration.
These effects are believed to be seen due to the C-terminal of the MGF peptide, which exerts neuroprotective effects. This was one of the first MGF studies indicating its neuroprotective characteristics.
Effects of Increased MGF Levels on Brain Cells
More studies (12) were conducted on mice to determine the effects of increased MGF levels in the body, specifically the brain cells.
Mice were experimentally induced with increased levels of MGF in their body for the purpose of this study.
In one study, mice were induced to overproduce MGF in the hippocampus area of the brain. Hippocampus is primarily responsible for regulating the neurogenesis phenomenon in the body. This overproduction of MGF resulted in high concentrations of BrdU, which is a biological marker representative of proliferative actions in the body. Increased BrdU levels indicated that MGF led to increased cell proliferation and brain development.
In another study, mice were bred to stimulate conditional MGF production at 1, 3 and 12 months old. Behavioral analysis and biological responses were examined after a couple years. These mice also showed elevated levels of BrdU, and high BrdU levels indicated increased cell proliferation and neurogenesis. It was determined that the enhanced levels of neurogenesis led to improved cognitive functions.
These studies demonstrate that MGF has potency to promote neurogenesis in brain cells and thereby be potentially used to treat cognitive disorders in humans.
What Are The Side Effects of MGF?
Studies are still ongoing for MGF to fully understand their therapeutic effects and any potential adverse effects in humans.
Based on several sources of information, below listed are the few disadvantages of the peptide, also common to other peptides:
- Decreased sugar levels
- Decreased blood pressure
- Pain and itchiness at the site of administration (for injections)
MGF as Doping Agent
MGF is widely used as a doping agent in sports and athletic fields, primarily due to its effects of wound repair and increased energy levels. While it has been widely accepted for use in sports and physical fitness training, it must be kept in mind that studies are still ongoing and that not all is known about MGF peptide just yet (4).
Given that PEG MGF is currently being misused as a doping agent, especially by the athletics and fitness enthusiasts, PEG MGF has been banned by World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) in sports (13).
Mechano Growth Factor, is a potent endogenous peptide that is an isoform of IGF-1 family, namely IGF-1Ec.
MGF is available in both natural and synthetic forms, and both versions are equally potent and effective. The main advantage of the synthetic Mechano Growth Factor is that it is not inhibited by the IGF-1 antagonist and hence can induce longer lasting effects. Given that synthetic MGF is analogous to its natural form, it is well tolerated and highly stable in the human body.
The primary benefit of the Mechano Growth Factor is that it helps muscle, tissue, and bone repair, regeneration, and wound healing. It helps regain the youthful stamina and energy in aged people. Furthermore, it also possesses the ability to prevent cell apoptosis and slow down brain ischemia due to its neuroprotective effects.
With limited common side effects and high bioavailability in humans, MGF does appear to be a promising candidate to enter into the therapeutics field. Research and clinical studies are still ongoing to fully explore the potential of MGF peptide.
1. Goldspink G. Impairment of IGF-I gene splicing and MGF expression associated with muscle wasting. Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2006 Mar;38(3):481-9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16463438/
2. Philippou A, Papageorgiou E, Bogdanis G, Halapas A, Sourla A, Maridaki M, Pissimissis N, Koutsilieris M. Expression of IGF-1 isoforms after exercise-induced muscle damage in humans: characterization of the MGF E peptide actions in vitro. In Vivo. 2009 Jul-Aug;23(4):567-75. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19567392/
3. Zabłocka, B., Goldspink, P. H., Goldspink, G., & Górecki, D. C. (2012). Mechano-Growth Factor: an important cog or a loose screw in the repair machinery? Frontiers in endocrinology, 3, 131. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3485521/
4. G Goldspink. Research on mechano growth factor: its potential for optimising physical training as well as misuse in doping. Department of Surgery, Royal Free and University College Medical School, Hampstead Campus, Rowland Hill Street, London NW3 2PF. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/39/11/787
5. Rotwein P. (2014). Editorial: the fall of mechanogrowth factor?. Molecular endocrinology (Baltimore, Md.), 28(2), 155–156. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3896639/
6. Mills P, Dominique JC, Lafrenière JF, Bouchentouf M, Tremblay JP. A synthetic mechano growth factor E Peptide enhances myogenic precursor cell transplantation success. Am J Transplant. 2007 Oct;7(10):2247-59. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17845560/
7. Kandalla PK, Goldspink G, Butler-Browne G, Mouly V. Mechano Growth Factor E peptide (MGF-E), derived from an isoform of IGF-1, activates human muscle progenitor cells and induces an increase in their fusion potential at different ages. Mech Ageing Dev. 2011 Apr. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21354439/
8. Liu X, Zeng Z, Zhao L, Chen P, Xiao W. Impaired Skeletal Muscle Regeneration Induced by Macrophage Depletion Could Be Partly Ameliorated by MGF Injection. Front Physiol. 2019 May 17;10:601. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31164836/
9. Doroudian, G., Pinney, J., Ayala, P., Los, T., Desai, T. A., & Russell, B. (2014). Sustained delivery of MGF peptide from microrods attracts stem cells and reduces apoptosis of myocytes. Biomedical microdevices, 16(5), 705–715. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10544-014-9875-z
10. Deng M, Zhang B, Wang K, Liu F, Xiao H, Zhao J, Liu P, Li Y, Lin F, Wang Y. Mechano growth factor E peptide promotes osteoblasts proliferation and bone-defect healing in rabbits. Int Orthop. 2011 Jul;35(7):1099-106. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21057789/
11. Dluzniewska J, Sarnowska A, Beresewicz M, Johnson I, Srai SK, Ramesh B, Goldspink G, Górecki DC, Zabłocka B. A strong neuroprotective effect of the autonomous C-terminal peptide of IGF-1 Ec (MGF) in brain ischemia. FASEB J. 2005 Nov;19(13):1896-8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16144956/
12. Alec Walker. Hearts and Minds of Mice and Men: Mechano Growth Factor a new tool in the battle against age-related neuron loss? 20 Jul 2017. https://blogs.biomedcentral.com/on-biology/2017/07/20/hearts-minds-mice-men-mechano-growth-factor-new-tool-battle-age-related-neuron-loss/
13. WADA Prohibition list, Prohibited at all times. https://www.wada-ama.org/en/content/what-is-prohibited/prohibited-at-all-times/peptide-hormones-growth-factors-related-substances-and-mimetics
Synonyms/Aliases: MGF, Mechano-Growth Factor, Insulin-like growth factor 1
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