Thea Magrone*, Matteo Antonio Russo and Emilio Jirillo Pages 1043 - 1053 ( 11 )
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are phylogenetically ancient substances released by living organisms for self protection against a broad variety of microbes. Moreover, AMPs are endowed with immune modulatory activities, linking innate and adaptive immunity together. Lantibiotics are AMPs of bacterial origin currently investigated for the generation of a new class of anti-infective compounds, owing to the phenomenon of antibiotic resistance against a broad variety of bacteria. Also, plants and marine AMPs are screened as novel drugs against human pathogens. Human AMPs encompass defensins and cathelicidins produced by various cell types mostly at mucosal sites. Besides their antimicrobial activity, both AMPs have been shown to trigger either inflammatory or anti-inflammatory pathways. Food-derived AMPs are mostly represented by lactoferrin and lysozyme both present in secretions, e.g., milk, and appear to be very exploitable for the generation of functional foods. Finally, the role of natural products ingested with food or administered as supplements on induction and production of AMPs will be discussed.
Antimicrobial peptides, cathelicidins, defensins, immune response, phylogenesis, resistance to antibiotics.
Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sensory Organs, University of Bari, School of Medicine, Bari, MEBIC Consortium, San Raffaele Open University of Rome and IRCCS San Raffaele Pisana of Rome, Rome, Department of Basic Medical Sciences, Neuroscience and Sensory Organs, University of Bari, School of Medicine, Bari