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Int J Mol Sci. 2012;13(4):4295-320. doi: 10.3390/ijms13044295. Epub 2012 Apr 2.

Salivary defense proteins: their network and role in innate and acquired oral immunity.

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Clinic of Prosthetic Dentistry, Faculty of Dentistry, Semmelweis University Budapest, Szentkirályi utca 47, Budapest, H-1088, Hungary; E-Mails: (P.H.); (P.F.).


There are numerous defense proteins present in the saliva. Although some of these molecules are present in rather low concentrations, their effects are additive and/or synergistic, resulting in an efficient molecular defense network of the oral cavity. Moreover, local concentrations of these proteins near the mucosal surfaces (mucosal transudate), periodontal sulcus (gingival crevicular fluid) and oral wounds and ulcers (transudate) may be much greater, and in many cases reinforced by immune and/or inflammatory reactions of the oral mucosa. Some defense proteins, like salivary immunoglobulins and salivary chaperokine HSP70/HSPAs (70 kDa heat shock proteins), are involved in both innate and acquired immunity. Cationic peptides and other defense proteins like lysozyme, bactericidal/permeability increasing protein (BPI), BPI-like proteins, PLUNC (palate lung and nasal epithelial clone) proteins, salivary amylase, cystatins, prolin-rich proteins, mucins, peroxidases, statherin and others are primarily responsible for innate immunity. In this paper, this complex system and function of the salivary defense proteins will be reviewed.


acquired; defense; immunity; innate; oral; protein; saliva

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