In addition to the physical barrier of the stratum corneum, cutaneous innate immunity also includes the release of various humoral mediators, such as cytokines and chemokines, recruitment and activation of phagocytes, and the production of antimicrobial proteins/ peptides (AMPs). AMPs form an innate epithelial chemical shield, which provides a front-line component in innate immunity to inhibit microbial invasion; however, this might be an oversimplification of the diverse functions of these molecules. In fact, apart from exhibiting a broad spectrum of microbicidal properties, it is increasingly evident that AMPs display additional activities that are related to the stimulation and modulation of the cutaneous immune system. These diverse functions include chemoattraction and activation of immune and/or inflammatory cells, the production and release of cytokines and chemokines, acceleration of angiogenesis, promotion of wound healing, neutralization of harmful microbial products, and bridging of both innate and adaptive immunity. Thus, better understanding of the functions of AMPs in skin and identification of their signaling mechanisms may offer new strategies for the development of potential therapeutics for the treatment of infection- and/or inflammation-related skin diseases. Here, we briefly outline the structure, regulation of expression, and multifunctional roles of principal skin-derived AMPs.
Keywords: Antimicrobial, skin, keratinocyte, innate immunity, adaptive immunity, chemoattraction, cytokine/chemokine, infection/ inflammation
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