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Shock. 2016 Jan;45(1):28-32. doi: 10.1097/SHK.0000000000000488.

The in Vitro Immune-Modulating Properties of a Sweat Gland-Derived Antimicrobial Peptide Dermcidin.

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*The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, Manhasset†Department of Emergency Medicine, North Shore University Hospital, New York.


The epidermal barriers of the skin serve as the first layer of defense by limiting the access of many pathogens to the blood circulation. In addition, human skin also contains sweat glands that can secrete a wide array of antimicrobial peptides to restrain the growth of various microbes. In the case of microbial infection, macrophages and monocytes constitute the first line of defense by producing a wide array of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. This process is triggered either by pathogen-associated molecular pattern molecules (such as bacterial endotoxin) or damage-associated molecular pattern molecules (such as HMGB1). In light of our findings that a sweat gland-derived antimicrobial peptide, dermcidin, affected both pathogen-associated molecular pattern and damage-associated molecular pattern-induced cytokines/chemokines by macrophages/monocytes, we propose that dermcidin may play an important role in the regulation of the innate immune responses to infection and injury. Future investigations are warranted to further test this understudied hypothesis in both preclinical and clinical settings.

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