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Peptides. 2013 May;43:96-101. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2013.02.024. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

Assessment of antimicrobial peptide LL-37 as a post-exposure therapy to protect against respiratory tularemia in mice.

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  • 1Biomedical Sciences Department, Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, Porton Down, Salisbury, Wiltshire SP4 0JQ, United Kingdom. hcfsmith@dstl.gov.uk


Early activation of the innate immune response is important for protection against infection with Francisella tularensis live vaccine strain (LVS) in mice. The human cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide LL-37 is known to have immunomodulatory properties, and therefore exogenously administered LL-37 may be suitable as an early post-exposure therapy to protect against LVS infection. LL-37 has been evaluated for immunostimulatory activity in uninfected mice and for activity against LVS in macrophage assays and protective efficacy when administered post-challenge in a mouse model of respiratory tularemia. Increased levels of pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-6, chemokines monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 (MCP-1) and CXCL1 with increased neutrophil influx into the lungs were observed in uninfected mice after intranasal administration of LL-37. Following LVS challenge, LL-37 administration resulted in increased IL-6, IL-12 p70, IFNγ and MCP-1 production, a slowing of LVS growth in the lung, and a significant extension of mean time to death compared to control mice. However, protection was transient, with the LL-37 treated mice eventually succumbing to infection. As this short course of nasally delivered LL-37 was moderately effective at overcoming the immunosuppressive effects of LVS infection this suggests that a more sustained treatment regimen may be an effective therapy against this pathogen.

Crown Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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