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Regul Pept. 2009 Aug 7;156(1-3):104-17. doi: 10.1016/j.regpep.2009.03.009. Epub 2009 Mar 26.

Effects of the cathelicidin LL-37 on intestinal epithelial barrier integrity.

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Department of Internal Medicine I, St. Josef-Hospital, Ruhr-University, Bochum, Germany.


The human cathelicidin LL-37 is involved in innate immune responses, angiogenesis and wound healing. Functions in maintenance and re-establishment of intestinal barrier integrity have not been characterized yet. Following direct and indirect stimulation of human colonic HT-29 and Caco-2 cells with LL-37 the cellular viability, rate of apoptosis, proliferation and wound healing were determined. Expression of mucins and growth factors was quantified by real-time PCR and Western blotting. Direct application of LL-37 stimulated migration in Caco-2 cells expressing the proposed LL-37 receptor P2X7. Intestinal epithelial cell (IEC) proliferation was not altered. Indirectly, LL-37 significantly enhanced IEC migration via release of growth factors from subepithelial fibroblasts and IEC. Furthermore, LL-37 induced the expression of protective mucins in IEC and abated tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) induced apoptosis in IEC. LL-37 induced signaling is mediated in part by the P2X7 receptor, the epidermal growth factor receptor and the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). LL-37 contributes to maintenance and re-establishment of the intestinal barrier integrity via direct and indirect pathways. These features, in addition to its known antimicrobial properties, suggest an important role for this peptide in intestinal homeostasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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