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Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 11;6:31577. doi: 10.1038/srep31577.

Synthetic antimicrobial and LPS-neutralising peptides suppress inflammatory and immune responses in skin cells and promote keratinocyte migration.

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Freie Universität Berlin, Institute of Pharmacy (Pharmacology and Toxicology), Berlin, Germany.
Research Center Borstel, Leibniz-Center for Medicine and Biosciences, Divisions of Biophysics, Borstel, Germany.


The stagnation in the development of new antibiotics and the concomitant high increase of resistant bacteria emphasize the urgent need for new therapeutic options. Antimicrobial peptides are promising agents for the treatment of bacterial infections and recent studies indicate that Pep19-2.5, a synthetic anti-lipopolysaccharide (LPS) peptide (SALP), efficiently neutralises pathogenicity factors of Gram-negative (LPS) and Gram-positive (lipoprotein/-peptide, LP) bacteria and protects against sepsis. Here, we investigated the potential of Pep19-2.5 and the structurally related compound Pep19-4LF for their therapeutic application in bacterial skin infections. SALPs inhibited LP-induced phosphorylation of NF-κB p65 and p38 MAPK and reduced cytokine release and gene expression in primary human keratinocytes and dermal fibroblasts. In LPS-stimulated human monocyte-derived dendritic cells and Langerhans-like cells, the peptides blocked IL-6 secretion, downregulated expression of maturation markers and inhibited dendritic cell migration. Both SALPs showed a low cytotoxicity in all investigated cell types. Furthermore, SALPs markedly promoted cell migration via EGFR transactivation and ERK1/2 phosphorylation and accelerated artificial wound closure in keratinocytes. Peptide-induced keratinocyte migration was mediated by purinergic receptors and metalloproteases. In contrast, SALPs did not affect proliferation of keratinocytes. Conclusively, our data suggest a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of patients with acute and chronic skin infections.

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