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Mucosal Immunol. 2010 Nov;3(6):602-9. doi: 10.1038/mi.2010.37. Epub 2010 Jun 23.

Psoriasin (S100A7) is a major Escherichia coli-cidal factor of the female genital tract.

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Department of Dermatology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


The female urogenital tract requires an efficient defense against bacteria, potentially derived from the adjacent intestinal tract. We have thus sought to identify the factors that protect against Escherichia coli (E. coli) in the female genital tract. Vaginal fluid from healthy human donors consistently killed E. coli in vitro and vaginal epithelium strongly expressed and secreted psoriasin. Psoriasin was constitutively produced in an organotypic vaginal epithelium model, and exposure of these cells to supernatants of E. coli cultures led to an enhanced psoriasin expression. Secreted psoriasin in vaginal fluids accounted for approximately 2.5-3% of total protein. Fractionation of vaginal fluids by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) showed that psoriasin co-eluted with a peak of E. coli killing activity. Our data show that normal vaginal fluid contains a powerful intrinsic antimicrobial defense against E. coli and that psoriasin contributes to the innate immune response of the female genital tract.

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