Humanin (HN) is a small mitochondrial-derived cytoprotective polypeptide encoded by mtDNA. HN exhibits protective effects in several cell types, including leukocytes, germ cells, neurons, tissues against cellular stress conditions and apoptosis through regulating various signaling mechanisms, such as JAK/STAT pathway and interaction of BCL-2 family of protein. HN is an essential cytoprotective peptide in the human body that regulates mitochondrial functions under stress conditions. The present review aims to evaluate HN peptide's antiapoptotic activities as a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of cancer, diabetes mellitus, male infertility, bone-related diseases, cardiac diseases, and brain diseases. Based on in vitro and in vivo studies, HN significantly suppressed the apoptosis during the treatment of bone osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, and neurodegenerative diseases. According to accumulated data, it is concluded that HN exerts the proapoptotic activity of TNF-α in cancer, which makes HN as a novel therapeutic agent in the treatment of cancer and suggested that along with HN, the development of another mitochondrial-derived peptide could be a viable therapeutic option against different oxidative stress and apoptosis-related diseases.
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