The role of salivary histatin and the human cathelicidin LL-37 in wound healing and innate immunity

M.J. Oudhoff, M.E. Blaauboer, K. Nazmi, N. Scheres, J.G.M. Bolscher, E.C.I. Veerman

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    Antimicrobial peptides are multifunctional in innate immunity and wound repair of multicellular organisms. We were the first to discover that histatins, a family of salivary antimicrobial peptides, enhance epithelial cell migration, suggesting a role in oral wound healing. It is unknown whether histatins display innate-immunity activities, similar to other antimicrobial peptides such as LL-37. Therefore, we compared the effect of Histatin-2 and LL-37 on several activities within the context of wound healing and innate immunity. We found that Histatin-2 enhances fibroblast migration, but only weakly induces proliferation. LL-37 enhances both fibroblast migration and proliferation, but only at a narrow concentration optimum (approximately 1 μm). At higher concentrations LL-37 causes cell death, whereas Histatin-2 is not cytotoxic. Both peptides do not alter fibroblast-to-myofibroblast differentiation. Histatin-2 does not alter interleukin-8 (IL-8) expression and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-elevated cytokine and chemokine expression. In contrast, LL-37 induces IL-8 expression, but dampens the LPS-induced immune response. Neither Histatin-2 nor LL-37 affects human-neutrophil migration. Histatins are, unlike other antimicrobial peptides, not cytotoxic or proinflammatory. It seems that they are important for the initial stage of wound healing in which fast wound coverage is important for healing without infection, inflammation, or fibrosis development. Interestingly, these characteristics are more typical for the mouth than for skin.
    Original languageUndefined/Unknown
    Pages (from-to)541-548
    JournalBiological Chemistry
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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