Thymosin alpha 1 is a thymic peptide that is pleiotropic in character. It has the power to advance innate immunity during times of need and down regulate immune response when it is not required. Thymosin alpha 1 is able to stimulate your natural killer cells (NK) in cases of cancer, chronic fatigue and viral infections like Hepatitis B and C. Thymosin alpha 1 therapy has also been shown to increase the effectiveness of vaccines.
Thymosin alfa 1 was discovered in the 1970s, and is responsible for rebuilding immune function in mice who were thymectomized (the removal of their thymus gland). The peptide, along with legumain, are a product of thymosin fraction 5 and have vastly different immunological functions.
A 2016 study conducted by an Italian university found that thymosin alpha 1 improved the activity of natural killer cells in the case of mice who had compromised or suppressed immune systems due to tumors, chemotherapy and radiation. The peptide is also known to reduce oxidative stress in the liver, by significantly enhancing the activity of catalase and superoxide dismutase.
Thymosin alpha 1 is produced naturally in the thymus glands of calf and lamb, but it can also be extracted from prokaryotic organisms such as Escherichia coli and eukaryotic organisms such as plants, yeast or Pichia Pastoris through solid-phase synthesis. Alternatively, it can be purified through genetic engineering expression, which is currently the most popular and promising method for production of thymosin alpha 1. This is a peptide that has been used in clinics since the 1990s.