Hyperactive Antimicrobials

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Science  24 Aug 2007:
Vol. 317, Issue 5841, pp. 1011
DOI: 10.1126/science.317.5841.1011c

Rosacea is a painful acne-like skin disorder, characterized by dilated blood vessels and persistent redness of the face. Yamasaki et al. provide evidence that cathelicidin peptides—which are chemotactic, angiogenic, and bactericidal, and are important for innate immune responses in the skin—are involved in the pathogenesis of rosacea. Skin biopsies of patients with rosacea had elevated levels of cathelicidin and cathelicidin mRNA. Processing of the cathelicidin precursor involves cleavage of the proprotein by the kallikrein family protease stratum corneum tryptic enzyme (SCTE); rosacea samples had elevated levels of SCTE and protease activity. The abundant cathelicidin fragment LL-37 stimulated interleukin-8 (IL-8) production in cultured human keratinocytes and caused erythema, vascular dilation, neutrophil infiltration, thrombosis, and hemorrhage when injected subcutaneously into mice; injection of SCTE caused similar symptoms. In mice deficient for the gene Camp, which encodes cathelicidin, inflammation was substantially less than normal after application of a contact skin irritant or physical abrasion. — NRG

Nat. Med. 13, 975 (2007).

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