Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences CMLS

, Volume 63, Issue 4, pp 469–486 | Cite as

Antimicrobial skin peptides and proteins

  • J. M. SchröderEmail author
  • J. Harder


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.

Key words.

Innate immunity antimicrobial peptides antimicrobial proteins skin infection keratinocytes psoriasis atopic dermatitis 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag, Basel 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of DermatologyUniversity-Hospital Schleswig-HolsteinKielGermany

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