Self-assembling peptides as an emerging platform for the treatment metabolic syndrome


Metabolic syndrome comprises a cluster of comorbidities that represent a major risk of developing chronic diseases, such as type II diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and stroke. Alarmingly, metabolic syndrome reaches epidemic proportions worldwide. Today, lifestyle changes and multiple drug-based therapies represent the gold standard to address metabolic syndrome. However, such approaches face two major limitations: complicated drug therapeutic regimes, which in most cases could lead to patient incompliance, and limited drug efficacy. This has encouraged scientists to search for novel routes to deal with metabolic syndrome and related diseases. Within such approaches, self-assembled peptide formulations have emerged as a promising alternative for treating metabolic syndrome. In particular, self-assembled peptide hydrogels, either as acellular or cell-load three-dimensional scaffoldings have reached significant relevance in the biomedical field to prevent and restore euglycemia, as well as for controlling cardiovascular diseases and obesity. This has been possible thanks to the physicochemical tunability of peptides, which are developed from a chemical toolbox of versatile amino acids enabling flexibility of designing a wide range of self-assembled/co-assembled nanostructures forming biocompatible viscoelastic hydrogels. Peptide hydrogels can be combined with several biological entities, such as extracellular matrix proteins, drugs or cells, forming functional biologics with therapeutic ability for treatment of metabolic syndrome-comorbidities. Additionally, self-assembly peptides combine safety, tolerability, and effectivity attributes; by this presenting a promising platform for the development of novel pharmaceuticals capable of addressing unmet therapeutic needs for diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and obesity. In this review, recent advances in developing self-assembly peptide nanostructures tailored for improving treatment of metabolic syndrome and related diseases will be discussed from basic research to preclinical research studies. Challenges facing the development of approved medicinal products based on self-assembling peptide nanomaterials will be discussed in light of regulatory requirement for clinical authorization.


open access article



Castillo-Díaz, L., Ruiz-Pacheco, J., Elsawy, M., Reyes-Martínez, J. and Enríquez-Rodríguez, A. (2020) Self-assembling peptides as an emerging platform for the treatment metabolic syndrome. International Journal of Nanomedicine, 15, 10349–10370


Research Institute

Leicester Institute for Pharmaceutical Innovation - From Molecules to Practice (LIPI)