Gastric pentadecapeptide body protection compound BPC 157 and its role in accelerating musculoskeletal soft tissue healing

There is a current need for a therapy that can alleviate the social and economic burden that presents itself with debilitating and recurring musculoskeletal soft tissue injuries and disorders. Currently, several therapies are emerging and undergoing trials in animal models; these focus on the manipulation and administration of several growth factors implicated with healing. However, limitations include in vivo instability, reliance on biocompatible and robust carriers and restricted application procedures (local and direct). The aim of this paper is therefore to critically review the current literature surrounding the use of BPC 157, as a feasible therapy for healing and functional restoration of soft tissue damage, with a focus on tendon, ligament and skeletal muscle healing. Currently, all studies investigating BPC 157 have demonstrated consistently positive and prompt healing effects for various injury types, both traumatic and systemic and for a plethora of soft tissues. However, to date, the majority of studies have been performed on small rodent models and the efficacy of BPC 157 is yet to be confirmed in humans. Further, over the past two decades, only a handful of research groups have performed in-depth studies regarding this peptide. Despite this, it is apparent that BPC 157 has huge potential and following further development has promise as a therapy to conservatively treat or aid recovery in hypovascular and hypocellular soft tissues such as tendon and ligaments. Moreover, skeletal muscle injury models have suggested a beneficial effect not only for disturbances that occur as a result of direct trauma but also for systemic insults including hyperkalamia and hypermagnesia. Promisingly, there are few studies reporting any adverse reactions to the administration of BPC 157, although there is still a need to understand the precise healing mechanisms for this therapy to achieve clinical realisation.