Bioactive tetrapeptide GEKG boosts extracellular matrix formation: in vitro and in vivo molecular and clinical proof


Univ. Prof. Dr. med. Jean Krutmann, Director, IUF-Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, Duesseldorf, Germany, Auf ’m Hennekamp 50, D-40225 Duesseldorf, Germany, Tel.: +49 211 3389 225, Fax: +49 211 3389 226, e-mail:


Abstract:  The ‘matrikine’ concept claims that processing of the precursors for collagen results in the formation of peptides such as KTTKS which in turn augments extracellular matrix (ECM) production. In the present study, we show the development of an anti-ageing active from an in silico approach by molecular design resulting in the tetrapeptide GEKG derived from ECM proteins. The efficacy of the peptide to significantly induce collagen production of the protein level and mRNA level has been demonstrated in vitro in human dermal fibroblasts and in vivo in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study enroling 10 volunteers with an average age of 48.2 years. The effect of GEKG on facial wrinkles was studied in 30 volunteers using state of the art fringe projection, which allows determination of surface roughness in three-dimensions. Here, only GEKG but not the placebo was able to significantly decrease skin roughness as a measure for wrinkles.