Rosacea as a disease of cathelicidins and skin innate immunity.

Department of Dermatology, Graduate School of Medicine, Tohoku University, Sendai, Miyagi, Japan.
Journal of Investigative Dermatology Symposium Proceedings (Impact Factor: 3.73). 12/2011; 15(1):12-5. DOI: 10.1038/jidsymp.2011.4
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Rosacea is a common and chronic inflammatory skin disease most frequently seen in groups of genetically related individuals. Although the symptoms of rosacea are heterogeneous, they are all related by the presence of characteristic facial or ocular inflammation involving both the vascular and tissue stroma. Until recently, the pathophysiology of this disease was limited to descriptions of a wide variety of factors that exacerbate or improve disease. Recent molecular studies show a common link between the triggers of rosacea and the cellular response, and these observations suggest that an altered innate immune response is involved in disease pathogenesis. Understanding rosacea as a disorder of innate immunity explains the benefits of current treatments and suggests new therapeutic strategies for alleviating this disease.

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    ABSTRACT: Recent findings of increased cathelicidin protein and its proteolytic fragments in rosacea suggest a pathogenic role for cathelicidin in this disease. The relationship between cathelicidin and protease-activated receptor 2 (PAR-2) is therefore of interest, as PAR-2, expressed principally in keratinocytes, regulates pro-inflammatory cytokine expression in the skin. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between expression of PAR-2 and cathelicidin in rosacea and to test the effect of direct PAR-2 activation on cathelicidin expression in keratinocytes.
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    ABSTRACT: Cathelicidins are phylogenetically ancient, pleiotropic host defense peptides-also called antimicrobial peptides (AMPs)-expressed in numerous life forms for innate immunity. Since even the jawless hagfish expresses cathelicidins, these genetically encoded host defense peptides are at least 400 million years old. More recently, cathelicidins with varying antipathogenic activities and cytotoxicities were discovered in the venoms of poisonous snakes; for these creatures, cathelicidins may also serve as weapons against prey and predators, as well as for innate immunity. We report herein the expression of orthologous cathelicidin genes in the venoms of four different South American pit vipers (Bothrops atrox, Bothrops lutzi, Crotalus durissus terrificus, and Lachesis muta rhombeata)-distant relatives of Asian cobras and kraits, previously shown to express cathelicidins-and an elapid, Pseudonaja textilis. We identified six novel, genetically encoded peptides: four from pit vipers, collectively named vipericidins, and two from the elapid. These new venom-derived cathelicidins exhibited potent killing activity against a number of bacterial strains (S. pyogenes, A. baumannii, E. faecalis, S. aureus, E. coli, K. pneumoniae, and P. aeruginosa), mostly with relatively less potent hemolysis, indicating their possible usefulness as lead structures for the development of new anti-infective agents. It is worth noting that these South American snake venom peptides are comparable in cytotoxicity (e.g., hemolysis) to human cathelicidin LL-37, and much lower than other membrane-active peptides such as mastoparan 7 and melittin from bee venom. Overall, the excellent bactericidal profile of vipericidins suggests they are a promising template for the development of broad-spectrum peptide antibiotics.
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