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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013 Apr 19;433(4):532-7. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.03.024. Epub 2013 Mar 20.

Human antimicrobial peptide LL-37 modulates proinflammatory responses induced by cytokine milieus and double-stranded RNA in human keratinocytes.

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Atopy (Allergy) Research Center, Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine, Tokyo 113-8421, Japan.


Epidermal keratinocytes produce proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines upon stimulation with cytokine milieus and Toll-like receptor ligands, which are considered to reflect epidermal environments in inflamed skin. The human antimicrobial peptide LL-37, besides having microbicidal functions, plays multiple roles as a "host defense peptide" in the immune system. Here, we examined the effect of LL-37 on proinflammatory responses induced by double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) and cytokines in primary human keratinocytes. LL-37 inhibited dsRNA-induced production of thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP), CCL5/RANTES, CXCL10/IP-10, and CXCL8/IL-8, which was attributable to interaction between LL-37 and dsRNA, although LL-37 upregulated CXCL8 expression at an earlier time point (8 h). LL-37 inhibited the increase of CXCL10 and CCL5 induced by TNF-α- and/or IFN-γ but enhanced that of CXCL8. LL-37 and Th17 cytokines (IL-17 and IL-22) synergistically upregulated the expression of CXCL8 and IL-6. LL-37 showed the effects above at a high concentration (25 μg/ml, 5.6 μM). We also examined effects of a peptide with a scrambled LL-37 sequence, which has been frequently used as a negative control, and those of another peptide with the reversed LL-37 sequence, activities of which have not been well investigated. Interestingly, the reversed LL-37 had effects similar to LL-37 but the scrambled LL-37 did not. The modulation by LL-37 of the keratinocyte proinflammatory responses induced by cytokine milieus and dsRNA suggests novel roles for LL-37 in skin inflammation such as the promotion of IL17/IL-22/IL-6-associated psoriasis and suppression of TSLP-associated atopic dermatitis.

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