Semax is a peptide made up of seven amino acids and is a synthetic fragment of adrenocorticotropic hormone . Semax has a range of neuro-biochemical actions and combines many benefits associated with the use of antidepressants and psychostimulants, such as activation of the brain monoaminergic systems and dopamine synthesis . The peptide has been shown to increase serotonin levels, dopamine synthesis and dopamine metabolites in rat brain to produce anti-anxiety effects [3, 4]. Other studies have investigated whether Semax is able to influence learning and memory processes via neurotrophins in rats. These molecules promote the survival of neurons and the findings of these studies demonstrated that the peptide resulted in a 1.6-fold increase in brain-derived neurotrophic factor , indicating that Semax acts as a nootropic peptide and likely improves brain function via neurotrophin expression. A decrease in levels of these neurotropic factors have previously been shown to impair learning and memory and it is likely that increasing the concentrations of these factors will stimulate the central nervous system to improve memory and learning . Human trials have shown that Semax, as part of combined intensive therapy of acute ischemic stroke, was able to improve the rate of restoration of damaged neurological functions related to cerebral, focus and motor disruption . The peptide was also shown to provide a prolonged nootropic effect in a second human trial . Semax contains selank as the active ingredient and was developed by the Institute of Molecular Genetics in Russia. This pharmaceutical formulation of selank is currently available in pharmacies in Russia and Ukraine. Based on clinical data, it is widely established that Semax can ease anxiety and boost mood and cognitive performance without the common side effects associated with traditional anti-anxiety medications, such as Ritalin.
Semax should be reconstituted in BAC water and administered as a nasal spray. The peptide can be dosed between 0.25 mg and 1 mg per day, which may be split over three administrations per day. The solution should be stored between 4-8°C and remains active for 20 days.
No adverse side effects have been reported following Semax administration, even at very high doses and the peptide is generally well tolerated and not addictive. In Russia and Ukraine, the peptide is commonly prescribed to treat a number of medical conditions including stroke and migraine headaches. Semax may have a slight sedative effect in comparison to selank, but these effects are not as strong in comparison to benzodiazepine use.
- Medvedeva, E.V., et al., The peptide semax affects the expression of genes related to the immune and vascular systems in rat brain focal ischemia: genome-wide transcriptional analysis. BMC Genomics, 2014. 15: p. 228-228.
- Eremin, K.O., et al., Effects of Semax on Dopaminergic and Serotoninergic Systems of the Brain. Doklady Biological Sciences, 2004. 394(1): p. 1-3.
- Eremin, K.O., et al., Semax, An ACTH(4-10) Analogue with Nootropic Properties, Activates Dopaminergic and Serotoninergic Brain Systems in Rodents. Neurochemical Research, 2005. 30(12): p. 1493-1500.
- Yatsenko, K.A., et al., Heptapeptide semax attenuates the effects of chronic unpredictable stress in rats. Doklady Biological Sciences, 2013. 453(1): p. 353-357.
- Dolotov, O.V., et al., Semax, an analog of ACTH(4–10) with cognitive effects, regulates BDNF and trkB expression in the rat hippocampus. Brain Research, 2006. 1117(1): p. 54-60.
- Gusev, E.I., et al., [Effectiveness of semax in acute period of hemispheric ischemic stroke (a clinical and electrophysiological study)]. Zh Nevrol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova, 1997. 97(6): p. 26-34.
- Kaplan, A.Y.A., et al., Synthetic acth analogue semax displays nootropic-like activity in humans. Neuroscience Research Communications, 1996. 19(2): p. 115-123.