, Volume 63, Issue 4, pp 469-486
Date: 16 Jan 2006

Antimicrobial skin peptides and proteins

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Human skin is permanently exposed to microorganisms, but rarely infected. One reason for this natural resistance might be the existence of a ‘chemical barrier’ consisting in constitutively and inducibly produced antimicrobial peptides and proteins (AMPs). Many of these AMPs can be induced in vitro by proinflammatory cytokines or bacteria. Apart from being expressed in vivo in inflammatory lesions, some AMPs are also focally expressed in skin in the absence of inflammation. This suggests that non-inflammatory stimuli of endogenous and/or exogenous origin can also stimulate AMP synthesis without inflammation. Such mediators might be ideal ‘immune stimulants’ to induce only the innate antimicrobial skin effector molecules without causing inflammation.