Effects of LL-37 Peptide Mimetics on Gingival Fibroblast Function

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Effects of LL-37 Peptide Mimetics on Gingival Fibroblast Function
Host defence peptides, including the cathelicidin LL-37, play an important role in mucosal immunity, functioning as both antimicrobial agents and modulators of the inflammatory response. In the current climate of antibiotic resistance, the idea of using naturally occurring antimicrobial peptides, or their synthetic mimetics, to combat oral infection is particularly appealing. Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of parent LL-37, and two peptide mimetics (KR-12 and KE-18), on cytokine expression and response to bacterial challenge by gingival fibroblasts. Methods: KR-12 and KE-18 are peptide mimetics of the biologically active, mid-region sequence of LL-37. The effects of commercially available LL-37, KR-12 and KE-18 on gingival fibroblast response to E coli and P gingivalis LPS challenge, analysed by IL-6 and IL-8 expression, were determined in cell culture by ELISA. The direct effects of each peptide on IL-6, IL-8, CXCL-1 and HGF expression were also determined by ELISA. The MTT assay was used to evaluate peptide effects on fibroblast viability. Results: LL-37 and KE-18, but not KR-12, inhibited LPS induction of inflammatory cytokine expression and directly stimulated CXCL-1 production by fibroblasts. All 3 peptides stimulated production of IL-8 and HGF. Neither LL-37 nor KE-12 affected cell viability, while KE-18, at higher concentrations, induced cell death. Conclusions: Shorter, peptide mimetics of LL-37, in particular KE-18, retain the immunomodulatory effects of the parent molecule and possess excellent potential as therapeutic agents in the treatment of oral infections including periodontal disease.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2012
EventIADR/PEF Helisinki - Helisinki, Finland
Duration: 15 Sep 201217 Sep 2013


ConferenceIADR/PEF Helisinki


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