Semax is a synthetic peptide drug. It was developed based on the molecular structure of the adrenocorticotropic hormone, which is produced by the pituitary gland. It was originally used in Russia for the prevention and treatment of circulatory disorders such as stroke. It has the ability to enhance cognition, protect brain cells, and ward off depression.
Overall Health Benefits
- Lowers risk of heart disease [1-5]
- Boosts immunity [6-7]
- Accelerates wound healing [8-9]
- Improves brain health and performance [10-17]
- Lowers the risk of stroke [18-23]
- Improves mood [24-28]
Proven Health Benefits
Lowers Risk of Heart Disease
A number of convincing studies show that Semax can help protect against heart disease:
- In mice, Semax produced beneficial effects on cardiac remodeling and decreased the risk of heart failure after a heart attack. 
- In mice, administration of Semax prevented the alteration of the heart’s function caused by the restriction of blood supply. 
- A study showed that Semax improved the functions of the cardiovascular system. 
- In rats with experimental myocardial infarction, Semax increased heart rate and reduced stress on the different heart structures. 
- A rat study reported that Semax can help increase heart rate by affecting the electrical conduction system of the heart. 
Evidence suggests that Semax can help strengthen the immune system:
- A study reported that Semax’s immune-modulating properties were effective in treating stress-induced immune imbalance. 
- A study also found that Semax can help boost immunity by regulating the activities of immune system cells. 
Accelerates Wound Healing
Semax has also been found to possess regenerative properties:
- A study reported that Semax shortened the healing time of acetic ulcers by reducing inflammation in the ulcer zone. 
- In rats, Semax injections inhibited the formation of acetic acid ulcers. 
Improves Brain Health and Performance
An overwhelming body of evidence supports the beneficial effects of Semax on brain function:
- In animal models, intranasal administration of Semax improved learning and memory. 
- In rats, Semax administration improved cognitive function by stimulating the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). 
- In mice, Semax showed cognitive-enhancing effects with increased BDNF levels. 
- A study suggested that Semax can help treat memory disorders associated with decreased blood supply to the brain. 
- A study showed that Semax can help protect against metal-induced brain toxicity. 
- In rats, intranasal administration of Semax was effective in rapid and specific activation of BDNF and growth factor gene (NGF) in different brain regions. 
- In rats with Parkinson’s disease, Semax improved performance in a test assessing memory. 
- A study found that Semax can help improve learning ability by stabilizing the levels of the anti-stress peptides known as enkephalins. 
Lowers the Risk of Stroke
Aside from boosting brain function, Semax also has protective effects against stroke:
- In patients with cerebrovascular insufficiency, a condition characterized by obstruction in the brain arteries resulting in reduced blood supply, Semax treatment inhibited disease progression and reduced the risk of stroke attacks. 
- A study showed that high doses of Semax (100-150 micrograms/kg) prevented acute ischemic stroke. 
- In rats, Semax protected against injury caused by sudden blood flow to the brain. 
- In patients with stroke, Semax treatment had beneficial effects on the rate of restoration of the damaged neurological functions. 
- In patients who were at different stages of stroke, Semax administration accelerated functional recovery and improved motor performance. 
- A rat study found that Semax prevented stroke by reducing the occlusion of brain arteries. 
Studies also show that Semax has antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects:
- In white rats, Semax significantly diminished neonatal stress. 
- A study reported that Semax can be a therapeutic option for depression. 
- In rats, Semax administration improved performance in a test assessing anxiety. 
- A rat study also found that Semax injections induced antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects after 1-14 days. 
- In rodents, Semax injections improved mood by increasing the levels of the brain chemical known as dopamine. 
- Gavrilova SA, Golubeva AV, Lipina TV, Fominykh ES, Shornikova MV, Postnikov AB, Andrejeva LA, Chentsov IuS, Koshelev VB. [Protective effect of peptide semax (ACTH(4-7)Pro-Gly-Pro) on the rat heart rate after myocardial infarction]. Ross Fiziol Zh Im I M Sechenova. 2006 Nov;92(11):1305-21. Russian. PMID: 17385423.
- Golubeva AV, Gavrilova SA, Lipina TV, Shornikova MV, Postnikov AB, Andreeva LA, Chentsov IuS, Koshelev VB. [Protective effect of peptide semax the rat heart in acute myocardial infarction]. Ross Fiziol Zh Im I M Sechenova. 2006 Jun;92(6):732-45. Russian. PMID: 16967870.
- Medvedeva EV, Dmitrieva VG, Povarova OV, Limborska SA, Skvortsova VI, Myasoedov NF, Dergunova LV. 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 Mar 24;15:228. doi: 10.1186/1471-2164-15-228. PMID: 24661604; PMCID: PMC3987924.
- Gavrilova SA, Markov MA, Berdalin AB, Kurenkova AD, Koshelev VB. Changes in Sympathetic Innervation of the Heart in Rats with Experimental Myocardial Infarction. Effect of Semax. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2017 Sep;163(5):617-619. doi: 10.1007/s10517-017-3862-3. Epub 2017 Sep 25. PMID: 28948544.
- Arushanian EB, Popov AV. [Effect of semax on heart rate variability in various daytime periods]. Eksp Klin Farmakol. 2009 Mar-Apr;72(2):32-4. Russian. PMID: 19441725.
- Samotrueva MA, Yasenyavskaya AL, Murtalieva VK, Bashkina OA, Myasoedov NF, Andreeva LA, Karaulov AV. Experimental Substantiation of Application of Semax as a Modulator of Immune Reaction on the Model of “Social” Stress. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2019 Apr;166(6):754-758. doi: 10.1007/s10517-019-04434-y. Epub 2019 Apr 26. PMID: 31028579.
- Available at https://www.hilarispublisher.com/proceedings/the-action-of-neuroprotective-peptide-semax-on-the-expression-of-genes-affecting-the-activity-of-immune-system-in-rat-brain-focal-ischemia-24589.html.
- Zhuĭkova SE, Badmaeva KE, Samonina GE, Plesskaia LG. Semaks i nekotorye gliprolinovye peptidy uskoriaiut zazhivlenie atsetatnykh iazv u krys [Semax and some glyproline peptides accelerate the healing of acetic ulcers in rats]. Eksp Klin Gastroenterol. 2003;(4):88-92, 117. Russian. PMID: 14653248.
- Zhuikova SE, Smirnova EA, Bakaeva ZV, Samonina GE, Ashmarin IP. Effect of Semax on homeostasis of gastric mucosa in albino rats. Bull Exp Biol Med. 2000 Sep;130(9):871-3. PMID: 11177268.
- Dolotov OV, Karpenko EA, Inozemtseva LS, Seredenina TS, Levitskaya NG, Rozyczka J, Dubynina EV, Novosadova EV, Andreeva LA, Alfeeva LY, Kamensky AA, Grivennikov IA, Myasoedov NF, Engele J. Semax, an analog of ACTH(4-10) with cognitive effects, regulates BDNF and trkB expression in the rat hippocampus. Brain Res. 2006 Oct 30;1117(1):54-60. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2006.07.108. Epub 2006 Sep 22. PMID: 16996037.
- Dolotov OV, Karpenko EA, Seredenina TS, Inozemtseva LS, Levitskaya NG, Zolotarev YA, Kamensky AA, Grivennikov IA, Engele J, Myasoedov NF. Semax, an analogue of adrenocorticotropin (4-10), binds specifically and increases levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor protein in rat basal forebrain. J Neurochem. 2006 Apr;97 Suppl 1:82-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-4159.2006.03658.x. PMID: 16635254.
- Firstova IuIu, Dolotov OV, Kondrakhin eA, Dubynina EV, Grivennikov IA, Kovalev GI. [Effects of nootropic drugs on hippocampal and cortical BDNF levels in mice with different exploratory behavior efficacy]. Eksp Klin Farmakol. 2009 Nov-Dec;72(6):3-6. Russian. PMID: 20095391.
- Iasnetsov VV, Krylova IN, Provornova NA. Farmakologicheskaia korrektsiia narusheniĭ mnesticheskikh funktsiĭ, vyzvannykh gipoksieĭ i ishemieĭ golovnogo mozga u krys [Pharmacological treatment of memory disorders caused by hypoxia and cerebral ischemia in rats]. Aviakosm Ekolog Med. 1998;32(1):55-60. Russian. PMID: 9606516.
- Tabbì G, Magrì A, Giuffrida A, Lanza V, Pappalardo G, Naletova I, Nicoletti VG, Attanasio F, Rizzarelli E. Semax, an ACTH4-10 peptide analog with high affinity for copper(II) ion and protective ability against metal induced cell toxicity. J Inorg Biochem. 2015 Jan;142:39-46. doi: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2014.09.008. Epub 2014 Sep 28. PMID: 25310602.
- Agapova TIu, Agniullin IaV, Silachev DN, Shadrina MI, Slominskiĭ PA, Shram SI, Limborskaia SA, Miasoedov NF. [Effect of semax on the temporary dynamics of brain-derived neurotrophic factor and nerve growth factor gene expression in the rat hippocampus and frontal cortex]. Mol Gen Mikrobiol Virusol. 2008;(3):28-32. Russian. PMID: 18756821.
- Slominsky PA, Shadrina MI, Kolomin TA, et al. Peptides semax and selank affect the behavior of rats with 6-OHDA induced PD-like parkinsonism. Dokl Biol Sci. 2017;474(1):106-109.
- Kost N. V., Sokolov O., Gabaeva M. V., Grivennikov I. A., Andreeva L. A., Miasoedov N. F., et al. . (2001). Semax and selank inhibit the enkephalin-degrading enzymes from human serum. Bioorg. Khim. 27, 180–183.
- Gusev EI, Skvortsova VI, Chukanova EI. [Semax in prevention of disease progress and development of exacerbations in patients with cerebrovascular insufficiency]. Zh Nevrol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova. 2005;105(2):35-40. Russian. PMID: 15792140.
- Miasoedova NF, Skvortsova VI, Nasonov EL, Zhuravleva EIu, Grivennikov IA, Arsen’eva EL, Sukhanov II. Izuchenie mekhanizmov neĭroprotektivnogo deĭstviia semaksa v ostrom periode ishemicheskogo insul’ta [Investigation of mechanisms of neuro-protective effect of semax in acute period of ischemic stroke]. Zh Nevrol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova. 1999;99(5):15-9. Russian. PMID: 10358912.
- Filippenkov IB, Stavchansky VV, Denisova AE, et al. Novel Insights into the Protective Properties of ACTH(4-7)PGP (Semax) Peptide at the Transcriptome Level Following Cerebral Ischaemia-Reperfusion in Rats. Genes (Basel). 2020;11(6):681. Published 2020 Jun 22. doi:10.3390/genes11060681.
- Gusev EI, Skvortsova VI, Miasoedov NF, Nezavibat’ko VN, Zhuravleva EIu, Vanichkin AV. Effektivnost’ semaksa v ostrom periode polusharnogo ishemicheskogo insul’ta (klinicheskoe i élektrofiziologicheskoe issledovanie) [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):26-34. Russian. PMID: 11517472.
- Gusev EI, Martynov MY, Kostenko EV, Petrova LV, Bobyreva SN. Éffektivnost’ semaksa pri lechenii bol’nykh na raznykh stadiiakh ishemicheskogo insul’ta [The efficacy of semax in the tretament of patients at different stages of ischemic stroke]. Zh Nevrol Psikhiatr Im S S Korsakova. 2018;118(3. Vyp. 2):61-68. Russian. doi: 10.17116/jnevro20181183261-68. PMID: 29798983.
- Stavchanskiĭ VV, Tvorogova TV, Botsina AIu, Skvortsova VI, Limborskaia SA, Miasoedov NF, Dergunova LV. [The effect of semax and its C-end peptide PGP on expression of the neurotrophins and their receptors in the rat brain during incomplete global ischemia]. Mol Biol (Mosk). 2011 Nov-Dec;45(6):1026-35. Russian. PMID: 22295573.
- Volodina MA, Sebentsova EA, Glazova NY, et al. Correction of long-lasting negative effects of neonatal isolation in white rats using semax. Acta Naturae. 2012;4(1):86-92.
- Pae CU. Therapeutic possibility of “Semax” for depression. CNS Spectr. 2008 Jan;13(1):20-1. doi: 10.1017/s1092852900016102. PMID: 18204410.
- Levitskaia NG, Vilenskiĭ DA, Sebentsova EA, Anreeva LA, Kamenskiĭ AA, Miasoedov NF. [Influence of Semax on the emotional state of white rats in the norm and against the background of cholecystokinin-tetrapeptide action]. Izv Akad Nauk Ser Biol. 2010 Mar-Apr;(2):231-7. Russian. PMID: 20387390.
- Vilenskiĭ DA, Levitskaia NG, Andreeva LA, Alfeeva LIu, Kamenskiĭ AA, Miasoedov NF. [Effects of chronic Semax administration on exploratory activity and emotional reaction in white rats]. Ross Fiziol Zh Im I M Sechenova. 2007 Jun;93(6):661-9. Russian. PMID: 17850024.
- Eremin KO, Kudrin VS, Saransaari P, Oja SS, Grivennikov IA, Myasoedov NF, Rayevsky KS. Semax, an ACTH(4-10) analogue with nootropic properties, activates dopaminergic and serotoninergic brain systems in rodents. Neurochem Res. 2005 Dec;30(12):1493-500. doi: 10.1007/s11064-005-8826-8. PMID: 16362768.