The oral cavity is home to numerous viruses and micro-organisms recognized as having a role in various oral diseases as well as in infections in other parts of the body. Indeed, in general a microbial infection underlies or is believed to underlie the ample spectrum of oral diseases, from tooth enamel decay to periodontal lesions, from candidiasis to virus-induced oral squamous cell carcinomas, and bullous autoimmune oral disorders. This clinico-pathological context stresses the need of targeted therapies to specifically kill infectious agents in a complex environment such as the oral cavity, and explains the current interest in exploring peptide-based therapeutic approaches in oral and dental research. Here, we review the therapeutic potential of antimicrobial peptides such as LL-37, beta defensins, adrenomedullin, histatins, and of various peptides modulating gene expression and immuno-biological interaction(s) in oral diseases.
Keywords: Antimicrobial peptides, cytokeratin peptides, bacterial competence-stimulating peptides, desmoglein-3 peptide, oral infectious diseases, Pemphigus vulgaris, oral squamous cell carcinomas, adrenomedullin, histatins, Candida albicans
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