Selank: A Review

Selank is a neuropeptide with pronounced anxiolytic and —in a lesser extent— nootropic effects. The drug has been developed by the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and its benefits have already been proven in humans. Selank modulates the expression and balance of Interleukin-6 and T helper cell cytokines, which play a key role in the healthy maintenance of the human immune system. Moreover, it has been shown to influence the concentration of monoamine neurotransmitters, and induce metabolism of serotonin. Thus, Selank has also been found to potentiate the expression of brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) in the hippocampus of rats.

Selank is a particularly appealing nootropic for users who have experienced depression and anxiety and hence are looking for neuroprotection and long-lasting results.

Depression and anxiety. Experiments in vitro have revealed that the drug suppresses gene expression by peripheral blood of patients with depression . At the same time, the significant spontaneous increase of the drug concentration was observed in the cell culture of peripheral blood of patients in the presence of selank. The changes of the cytokine balance in vivo were found in the serum of patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and neurasthenia who received Selank during 14 days. Though unexpected, the dynamics of these changes had the significant inverse correlation dependence. The cytokine regulating effects revealed in the study suggest that selank can be used as a novel yet safer immunomodulator in patients with anxiety-asthenic disorders.

Thus, sixty-two patients with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and neurasthenia were studied in Russia. The effect of selank (30 patients) was compared to that of medazepam (32 patients), a common used benzodiazepine. Patient’s state was assessed with psychometric scales and enkephalin activity in the blood serum was measured as well. The anxiolytic effects of both drugs were similar but selank had also antiasthenic and psychostimulant effects. The clinical-biological study revealed that patients with GAD and neurasthenia had the decreased level of certain enkephalins which were correlated with disease duration, severity of symptoms related to anxiety and asthenia and autonomic disorders. The increase of this parameter and stronger positive correlations with anxiety level were observed during the treatment with selank mostly in patients with GAD .

Alcohol withdrawal. In this study , the effects of selling on the development of symptoms of acute 48-h alcohol withdrawal in outbred rats drinking 10 % ethanol as the only source of fluid for 24 weeks were analyzed. The findings suggest that selank could be effective in eliminating of alcohol withdrawal symptoms in rats.

Neuroprotector. Selank restored cognitive processes disordered by chronic artificial inhibition of the cerebral catecholaminergic system in rats . The ability of the peptide compensated for mnestic dysfunction caused by the administration of a protein inhibitor. Selank prevented or compensated for the damage, induced violation of the process of acquisition, and consolidation of memory trace during the development of a complex site reflex. Thus, it has been shown that the peptide anxiolytic drug Selank recovers learning and memory impaired by damage of the specific noradrenergic brain system in Wistar rats after injection of neurotoxic compounds. The main component of the Selank action was the stimulation of the search reflex aimed to distinguish an adequate adaptive response in the first trials of the learning session. The enhancement of memory consolidation and retrieval shows evidence for stimulation of the brain motivation mechanisms impaired by the NA system damage.

Long duration. Though costly for some, the anxiolytic and nootropic effect of Selank seems to last for a while. In this study , its cognitive benefits lasted for a week after last receiving a single dose of the peptide, producing a positive impact on the quality of life of the patients. Furthermore, in this another study , a single injection of selank activated the metabolism of 5-HT in the hypothalamus and caudal brain stem for 30 min to 2 h. Hence, It was established that selank induces an increase in memory trace stability during 30 days. These findings provide direct evidence that selank, when injected during consolidation phase, can enhance memory storage processes in the short and long-term.
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