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Infect Immun. 2005 Nov;73(11):7281-9.

Intestinal innate immunity to Campylobacter jejuni results in induction of bactericidal human beta-defensins 2 and 3.

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Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Institute of Child Health, London WC1N 1EH, United Kingdom.


Campylobacter jejuni is the most prevalent cause of bacterial diarrhea worldwide. Despite the serious health problems caused by this bacterium, human innate immune responses to C. jejuni infection remain poorly defined. Human beta-defensins, a family of epithelial antimicrobial peptides, are a major component of host innate defense at the gastrointestinal mucosal surface. In this study, the effect of two different C. jejuni wild-type strains on human intestinal epithelial innate responses was investigated. Up-regulation of beta-defensin gene and peptide expression during infection was observed and recombinant beta-defensins were shown to have a direct bactericidal effect against C. jejuni through disruption of cell wall integrity. Further studies using an isogenic capsule-deficient mutant showed that, surprisingly, the absence of the bacterial polysaccharide capsule did not change the innate immune responses induced by C. jejuni or the ability of C. jejuni to survive exposure to recombinant beta-defensins. This study suggests a major role for this family of antimicrobial peptides in the innate immune defense against this human pathogen.

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