Barbara Skerlavaj

University of Udine, Udine, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy

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Publications (36)132.93 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Apart from direct bacterial killing, antimicrobial host defence peptides (HDPs) exert various other biological activities that also include modulation of immune responses to infection. The bovine cathelicidin BMAP-28 has been extensively studied with regard to its direct antibacterial activity while little is known about its effects on immune cell function. We have investigated its ability to affect inflammatory pathways and to influence the proinflammatory response induced by LPS in RAW 264.7 macrophages, in terms of modulation of TLR4 activation and cytokine gene induction. BMAP-28 on its own elicited ERK1/2, p38 and NF-κB activation leading to upregulation of IL-1β gene expression in these cells, suggesting it has the capacity to activate selected cellular pathways through direct effects on macrophages. As expected based on its in vitro LPS-binding properties, BMAP-28 blocked LPS-induced cytokine gene expression when added to the cell culture in combination with LPS. However it enhanced the induction of IL-1β and IL-6 genes and suppressed that of IFN-β when added prior to or following LPS stimulation over a 30-60 min time interval, or when co-administered with taxol as another TLR4 stimulant. It did not inhibit the expression of IFN-β induced by the TLR3 ligand poly(I:C). Overall these results, and the fact that BMAP-28 increased the LPS-stimulated activation of NF-κB while diminishing that of IRF-3, suggest that the peptide potentiates the early TLR4-mediated proinflammatory cytokine response while inhibiting the TLR4/TRAM/TRIF signaling pathway leading to IRF-3 activation and IFN-β gene expression. Using a TLR4-specific antibody we also found that BMAP-28 decreased the LPS-induced internalization of surface TLR4 required for initiating the TRAM/TRIF signaling pathway, which provides a mechanism for the inhibitory effect of the peptide on the TLR4/TRAM/TRIF pathway.
    Immunobiology 01/2012; 217(10):962-71. · 2.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The yeast-like algae of the genus Prototheca are ubiquitous saprophytes causing infections in immunocompromised patients and granulomatous mastitis in cattle. Few available therapies and the rapid spread of resistant strains worldwide support the need for novel drugs against protothecosis. Host defence antimicrobial peptides inactivate a wide array of pathogens and are a rich source of leads, with the advantage of being largely unaffected by microbial resistance mechanisms. Three structurally diverse bovine peptides [BMAP-28, Bac5 and lingual antimicrobial peptide (LAP)] have thus been tested for their capacity to inactivate Prototheca spp. In minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) assays, they were all effective in the micromolar range against clinical mastitis isolates as well as a Prototheca wickerhamii reference strain. BMAP-28 sterilized Prototheca cultures within 30-60 min at its MIC, induced cell permeabilization with near 100% release of cellular adenosine triphosphate and resulted in extensive surface blebbing and release of intracellular material as observed by scanning electron microscopy. Bac5 and LAP inactivated Prototheca following 3-6 h incubation at fourfold their MIC and did not result in detectable surface damage despite 70-90% killing, suggesting they act via non-lytic mechanisms. In circular dichroism studies, the conformation of BMAP-28, but not that of Bac5 or LAP, was affected by interaction with liposomes mimicking algal membranes. Our results indicate that BMAP-28, Bac5 and LAP kill Prototheca with distinct potencies, killing kinetics, and modes of action and may be appropriate for protothecal mastitis treatment. In addition, the ability of Bac5 and LAP to act via non-lytic mechanisms may be exploited for the development of target-selective drugs.
    Journal of Peptide Science 11/2011; 18(2):105-13. · 2.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cathelicidins are peptide components of the innate immune system of mammals. Apart from exerting a direct antibiotic activity, they can also trigger specific defense responses in the host. Their roles in various pathophysiological conditions have been studied, but there is a lack of published information on their expression and activities in the context of mastitis. The aims of this study were to investigate the expression of the bovine cathelicidins BMAP-27, BMAP-28, Bac5, and indolicidin in healthy and infected mammary tissue and in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-treated cells, to determine their activities against bacteria isolated from bovine mastitis, and to examine their potentials to trigger defense responses in bovine mammary cells. The genes were found to be upregulated in LPS-stimulated neutrophils, but not in infected quarters or epithelial cells. All peptides showed a variably broad spectrum of activity against 28 bacterial isolates from bovine mastitis (MIC values, 0.5 to 32 microM), some of which were antibiotic resistant. The activity of each peptide was significantly enhanced when it was pairwise tested with the other peptides, reaching the synergy threshold when indolicidin was present. The bactericidal activity was sensitive to milk components; BMAP-27 and -28 were highly effective in mastitic bovine milk and inhibited in milk from healthy cows. Both peptides were also active in whey and in blood serum and triggered the expression of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) in bovine mammary epithelial cells. Our results indicate multiple roles for the bovine cathelicidins in mastitis, with complementary and mutually enhanced antimicrobial activities against causative pathogens and the capacity to activate host cells.
    Infection and immunity 04/2010; 78(4):1781-8. · 4.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The in vitro antimicrobial activities and biological effects on host cells were compared for the bovine cathelicidins BMAP-28, an alpha-helical AMP, and Bac5 and Bac7, proline-rich AMPs. Our results confirm that the broad-spectrum activity of BMAP-28 correlates with a high capacity to interact with and permeabilize bacterial membranes, whereas the proline-rich AMPs selectively internalize into the cytoplasm of susceptible Gram-negative bacteria with a non-lytic mechanism. All peptides efficiently translocated into mammalian fibroblastic cells, but while Bac5 and Bac7(1–35) localized to nuclear structures and induced cellular proliferation, BMAP-28 associated with mitochondria and did not induce proliferation. Moreover, BMAP-28 was considerably more cytotoxic than the proline-rich peptides due to cytolytic and pro-apoptotic effects. Our results highlight important functional differences among the bovine cathelicidins and suggest that they contribute to an integrated response of the host to infection, with distinct but complementary activities. KeywordsAntimicrobial peptide-Cathelicidin-Alpha-helical-Proline-rich-Membranolytic
    Probiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins 01/2010; 2(1):12-20.
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    ABSTRACT: We have analysed the effects of variations in orang-utan (ppy), rhesus macaque (mmu) and leaf eater (pob) monkey orthologues of the human cathelicidin LL-37, on a range of relevant biological activities. These host defence peptides range in cationicity from +4 to +10, and while the more cationic pob and mmuRL-37 are in a monomeric and unstructured form in bulk solution (F-form), the human and ppyLL-37 are in an aggregated/helical form (A-form). The in vitro antibacterial activity depended strongly on both the structural form and the charge. F-form peptides were more potent against Gram-positive and -negative bacteria and less salt, medium or serum sensitive than A-form ones. CD studies suggested that A- and F-form peptides interact with LPS in different manners, but the ability to detoxify it did not correlate directly with either the charge or structure. Toxicity towards eukaryotic cells also showed a varied dependence on the peptides' physical characteristics. Haemolytic activity was similar for all the tested peptides while other cytotoxicity assays revealed the highly cationic, F-form pobRL-37 as the most toxic, followed by the A-form human LL-37. As shown with the human peptide, toxicity depended markedly on the nature and metabolic state of the target cell. Our results suggest that different evolutionary trajectories for each orthologue lead to distinct sets of physical characteristics, which significantly differentiates their biological activities.
    Journal of Peptide Science 06/2009; 15(9):576-82. · 2.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Extracellular ATP, released at sites of inflammation or tissue damage, activates the P2X(7) receptor, which in turn triggers a range of responses also including cell proliferation. In this study the ability of the human cathelicidin LL-37 to stimulate fibroblast growth was inhibited by commonly used P2X(7) blockers. We investigated the structural requirements of the growth-promoting activity of LL-37 and found that it did not depend on helix sense (the all-d analog was active) but did require a strong helix-forming propensity in aqueous solution (a scrambled analog and primate LL-37 orthologs devoid of this property were inactive). The involvement of P2X(7) was analyzed using P2X(7)-expressing HEK293 cells. LL-37 induced proliferation of these cells, triggered Ca(2+) influx, promoted ethidium bromide uptake, and synergized with benzoyl ATP to enhance the pore and channel functions of P2X(7). The activity of LL-37 had an absolute requirement for P2X(7) expression as it was blocked by the P2X(7) inhibitor KN-62, was absent in cells lacking P2X(7), and was restored by P2X(7) transfection. Of particular interest, LL-37 led to pore-forming activity in cells expressing a truncated P2X(7) receptor unable to generate the non-selective pore typical of the full-length receptor. Our results indicate that P2X(7) is involved in the proliferative cell response to LL-37 and that the structural/aggregational properties of LL-37 determine its capacity to modulate the activation state of P2X(7).
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2008; 283(45):30471-81. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An experimental study was performed to evaluate the efficacy of BMAP-28 alone and in combination with vancomycin in animal models ureteral stent infection due to Enterococcus faecalis and Staphylococcus aureus. Study included a control group without bacterial challenge to evaluate the sterility of surgical procedure, a challenged control group that did not receive any antibiotic prophylaxis and for each bacterial strain three challenged groups that received (a) 10 mg/kg vancomycin intraperitoneally, immediately after stent implantation, (b) BMAP-28-coated ureteral stents where 0.2-cm(2) sterile ureteral stents were incubated in 1mg/l BMAP-28 solution for 30 min immediately before implantation and (c) intraperitoneal vancomycin plus BMAP-28-coated ureteral stent at the above concentrations. Experiments were performed in duplicate. Ureteral stents were explanted at day 5 following implantation and biofilm bacteria enumerated. Our data showed that rats that received intraperitoneal vancomycin showed the lowest bacterial numbers. BMAP-28 combined with vancomycin showed efficacies higher than that of each single compound. These results highlight the potential usefulness of this combination in preventing ureteral stent-associated in gram-positive infections.
    Peptides 08/2008; 29(7):1118-23. · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A promising therapeutic strategy for the management of severe Pseudomonas infection in neutropenic patients may result from the coadministration of colony-stimulating factors (CSFs) that help maintain immune competence and antimicrobial peptides, a novel generation of adjunctive therapeutic agents with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. A promising peptide with these properties is LL-37, the only member of the cathelicidin family of antimicrobial peptides found in humans. BALB/c male mice were rendered neutropenic by intraperitoneal administration of cyclophosphamide on days -4 and -2 preinfection. Septic shock was induced at time 0 by intraperitoneal injection of 2x10 colony-forming units of P. aeruginosa American Type Culture Collection (ATCC) 27853. All animals were randomized to receive intravenously isotonic sodium chloride solution, 1 mg/kg of LL-37, 20 mg/kg of imipenem, 0.1 mg/kg of granulocyte CSF (G-CSF), 1 mg/kg of LL-37+0.1 mg/kg of G-CSF, or 20 mg/kg of imipenem+0.1 mg/kg of G-CSF. Lethality and bacterial growth in blood, peritoneum, spleen, liver, and kidney were evaluated. All regimens were significantly superior to controls at reducing the mouse lethality rate and bacterial burden in organs. Particularly, the combination between LL-37 and G-CSF was the most effective in protecting neutropenic mice from the onset of sepsis and in vitro significantly reduced the apoptosis of neutrophils. Combination therapy between LL-37 and G-CSF is a promising therapeutic strategy for the management of severe Pseudomonas infection complicated by neutropenia.
    Shock (Augusta, Ga.) 05/2008; 30(4):443-8. · 2.87 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An experimental study was designed to investigate the efficacy of BMAP-27, a compound of the cathelicidin family, in neutralizing Escherichia coli 0111:B4 lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in bile duct-ligated mice. Main outcome measures were: endotoxin and TNF-alpha concentrations in plasma, evidence of bacterial translocation in blood and peritoneum, and lethality. Adult male BALB/c mice were injected intraperitoneally with 2 mg/kg E. coli 0111:B4 LPS 1 week after sham operation or bile duct ligation (BDL). Six groups were studied: sham with placebo, sham with 120 mg/kg tazobactam-piperacillin (TZP), sham with 1 mg/kg BMAP-27, BDL with placebo, BDL with 120 mg/kg TZP, and BDL with 1mg/kg BMAP-27. After LPS, TNF-alpha plasma levels were significantly higher in BDL mice compared to sham-operated animals. BMAP-27 achieved a significant reduction of plasma endotoxin and TNF-alpha concentration when compared with placebo- and TZP-treated groups. On the other hand, both TZP and BMAP-27 significantly reduced the bacterial growth compared with saline treatment. Finally, LPS induced 60% and 55% lethality in BDL placebo- and TZP-treated treated mice and no lethality in sham-operated mice, while only BMAP-27 significantly reduced the lethality to 10%. In light of its dual antimicrobial and anti-endotoxin properties, BMAP-27 could be an interesting compound to inhibit bacterial translocation and endotoxin release in obstructive jaundice.
    Peptides 12/2006; 27(11):2592-9. · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A mouse model of staphylococcal sepsis was used to evaluate the efficacy of RNAIII-inhibiting peptide (RIP) combined with the cathelicidin BMAP-28. Preliminary in vitro studies showed that both peptides, alone or combined, were able to inhibit the lipoteichoic acid-induced production of tumor necrosis factor alpha and nitric oxide by RAW 264.7 cells. For in vivo experiments, the main outcome measures were lethality, quantitative blood cultures, and detection of tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin 6 plasma levels. BALB/c mice were injected i.v. with 2.0 x 10(6) colony-forming units of live Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923 or with 5.0 x 10(8) heat-killed cells of the same strain. All animals were randomized to receive i.v. isotonic sodium chloride solution, 10-mg/kg RIP, alone or in combination with 2-mg/kg BMAP-28, 7-mg/kg imipenem, or 7-mg/kg vancomycin, immediately and at 6 hours after bacterial challenge. In in vivo experiments performed with live bacteria, all compounds reduced lethality rates and bacteremia when compared with controls. In general, combined-treated groups had significantly lower bacteremia when compared with single-treated groups. Lowest lethality rates and bacteremia were obtained when RIP was administered in combination with BMAP-28 or vancomycin. In the experiments performed using heat-killed organisms, only BMAP-28 demonstrated significant efficacy on lethality rates and cytokines plasma levels when compared with controls. RIP combined with BMAP-28 exhibited the highest efficacy on all main outcome measurements. These data were observed on both immediate and delayed treatments. These results highlight the capacity of RIP and BMAP-28 to reduce the septic effects of bacterial cell components and exotoxins, and suggest their potential use in the treatment of severe staphylococcus-associated sepsis.
    Shock 10/2006; 26(3):296-301. · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An in vitro antibiotic susceptibility assay for Staphylococcus aureus biofilms developed on 96-well polystyrene tissue culture plates was performed to elucidate the activity of the 27 residues cathelicidin peptide BMAP-28, quinupristin/dalfopristin (Q/D), linezolid, and vancomycin. Efficacy studies were performed in a rat model of staphylococcal CVC infection. Silastic catheters were implanted into the superior cava. Twenty-four hours after implantation the catheters were filled with BMAP-28. Thirty minutes later rats were challenged via the CVC with 1.0x10(6) CFU of S. aureus strain Smith diffuse. Administration of antibiotics into the CVC at a concentration equal to the MBC observed using adherent cells, or at a much higher concentration (1024 microg/mL) began 24 h later. The inhibition activities of all antibiotics against adherent bacteria were at least two-four-fold lower that against freely growing cells. When antibiotics were used in BMAP-28 pre-treated wells, they showed higher activities. The in vivo studies showed that when CVCs were pre-treated with BMAP-28 or with a high dose of antibiotics, biofilm bacterial load was reduced from 10(7) to 10(3) CFU/mL and bacteremia reduced from 10(3) to 10(1) CFU/mL. When CVCs were treated with both BMAP-28 and antibiotics, biofilm bacterial load was further decreased to 10(1) CFU/mL and bacteremia was not detected. These results suggest that CVC pre-treated with BMAP-28 represents an attractive choice for the treatment of device-related infections caused by staphylococci.
    Peptides 10/2006; 27(9):2104-10. · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the efficacy of LL-37, the C-terminal part of the only cathelicidin in humans identified to date (termed human cationic antimicrobial protein), in three experimental rat models of gram-negative sepsis. Adult male Wistar rats (i) were given an intraperitoneal injection of 1 mg Escherichia coli 0111:B4 LPS, (ii) were given 2 x 10(10) CFU of Escherichia coli ATCC 25922, or (iii) had intra-abdominal sepsis induced via cecal ligation and puncture. For each model, all animals were randomized to receive intravenously isotonic sodium chloride solution, 1-mg/kg LL-37, 1-mg/kg polymyxin B, 20-mg/kg imipenem, or 60-mg/kg piperacillin. Lethality; growth of bacteria in blood, peritoneum, spleen, liver, and mesenteric lymph nodes; and endotoxin and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) concentrations in plasma were evaluated. All compounds reduced lethality compared to levels in controls. Endotoxin and TNF-alpha plasma levels were significantly higher in conventional antibiotic-treated rats than in LL-37- and polymyxin B-treated animals. All drugs tested significantly reduced bacterial growth compared to saline treatment. No statistically significant differences between LL-37 and polymyxin B were noted for antimicrobial and antiendotoxin activities. LL-37 and imipenem proved to be the most effective treatments in reducing all variables measured. Due to its multifunctional properties, LL-37 may become an important future consideration for the treatment of sepsis.
    Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 06/2006; 50(5):1672-9. · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mammalian antimicrobial peptides provide rapid defense against infection by inactivating pathogens and by influencing the functions of cells involved in defense responses. Although the direct antibacterial properties of these peptides have been widely characterized, their multiple effects on host cells are only beginning to surface. Here we investigated the mechanistic and functional aspects of the interaction of the proline-rich antimicrobial peptide Bac7(1-35) with mammalian cells, as compared with a truncated analog, Bac7(5-35), lacking four critical N-terminal residues (RRIR) of the Bac7(1-35) sequence. By using confocal microscopy and flow cytometry, we showed that although the truncated analog Bac7(5-35) remains on the cell surface, Bac7(1-35) is rapidly taken up into 3T3 and U937 cells through a nontoxic energy- and temperature-dependent process. Cell biology-based assays using selective endocytosis inhibitors and spectroscopic and surface plasmon resonance studies of the interaction of Bac7(1-35) with phosphatidylcholine/cholesterol model membranes collectively suggest the concurrent contribution of macropinocytosis and direct membrane translocation. Structural studies with model membranes indicated that membrane-bound Bac7(5-35) is significantly more aggregated than Bac7(1-35) due to the absence of the N-terminal cationic cluster, thus providing an explanation for hampered cellular internalization of the truncated form. Further investigations aimed to reveal functional implications of intracellular uptake of Bac7(1-35) demonstrated that it correlates with enhanced S phase entry of 3T3 cells, indicating a novel function for this proline-rich peptide.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2006; 281(1):383-91. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Ten peptides from 13 to 35 residues in length and covering the whole sequence of the Pro-rich peptide Bac7 were synthesized to identify the domain responsible for its antimicrobial activity. At least 16 residues of the highly cationic N-terminal sequence were required to maintain the activity against Gram-negative bacteria. The fragments Bac7(1-35) and, to a lesser extent, Bac7(1-16) proved active against a panel of antibiotic-resistant clinical isolates of Gram-negative bacteria, with the notable exception of Burkholderia cepacia. In addition, when tested against fungi, the longer fragment was also active against collection strains and clinical isolates of Cryptococcus neoformans, but not towards clinical isolates of Candida albicans.
    Peptides 01/2005; 25(12):2055-61. · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A mouse model of staphylococcal sepsis was used to compare the efficacy of the bovine antimicrobial peptide BMAP-28, a compound of the cathelicidin family, with that of conventional antibiotics. Prospective, randomized, controlled animal study. Research laboratory in a university hospital. BALB/c male mice. BALB/c mice were injected intravenously with 2.0 x 10(6) colony-forming units of live Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923 or with 5.0 x 10(8) heat-killed cells of the same strain. All animals were randomized to receive intravenously isotonic sodium chloride solution, 2 mg/kg BMAP-28, 7 mg/kg imipenem, 7 mg/kg vancomycin, 7 mg/kg clindamycin, and 7 mg/kg clarithromycin immediately and at 6 hrs after bacterial challenge. Lethality, quantitative blood cultures, and detection of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6 plasma levels. In the experiments performed with live bacteria, all compounds reduced lethality rates and bacterial growth compared with controls. Imipenem and vancomycin exhibited the highest efficacy on these main outcome measures. In the experiments performed using heat-killed organisms, only BMAP-28 demonstrated significant efficacy on lethality rates, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and interleukin-6 plasma levels compared with controls. These results highlight the capacity of BMAP-28 to reduce the effects of components of the bacterial cells and suggest that it may be beneficial in the treatment of severe staphylococcal infections in concert with other antimicrobial agents.
    Critical Care Medicine 01/2005; 32(12):2485-90. · 6.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The present study was designed to investigate the antiendotoxin activity and therapeutic efficacy of sheep myeloid antimicrobial peptide (SMAP)-29, a cathelicidin-derived peptide. The in vitro ability of SMAP-29 to bind LPS from Escherichia coli 0111:B4 was determined using a sensitive limulus chromogenic assay. Two rat models of septic shock were performed: (1) rats were injected intraperitoneally with 1 mg E. coli 0111:B4 LPS and (2) intraabdominal sepsis was induced via cecal ligation and single puncture. All animals were randomized to receive parenterally isotonic sodium chloride solution, 1 mg/kg SMAP-29, 1 mg/kg polymyxin B or 20 mg/kg imipenem. The main outcome measures were: abdominal exudate and plasma bacterial growth, plasma endotoxin and tumor necrosis factor-alpha concentrations, and lethality. The in vitro study showed that SMAP-29 completely inhibited the LPS procoagulant activity at approximately 10 microM peptide concentration. The in vivo experiments showed that all compounds reduced the lethality when compared with control animals. SMAP-29 achieved a substantial decrease in endotoxin and tumor necrosis factor-alpha plasma concentrations when compared with imipenem and saline treatment and exhibited a slightly lower antimicrobial activity than imipenem. No statistically significant differences were noted between SMAP-29 and polymyxin B. SMAP-29, because of its double antiendotoxin and antimicrobial activities, could be an interesting compound for septic shock treatment.
    American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 02/2004; 169(2):187-94. · 11.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Two alpha-helical antimicrobial peptides (BMAP-27 and -28) and four synthetic analogs were compared for in vitro and in vivo antimicrobial efficacy. All peptides proved active in vitro at micromolar concentrations against a range of clinical isolates, including antibiotic-resistant strains. BMAP-27 and two analogs were more effective towards Gram-negative, and BMAP-28 towards Gram-positive organisms. In addition, BMAP-28 provided some protection in vitro against human herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). The parent peptides and mBMAP-28 analog protected mice from lethal i.p. infections in an acute peritonitis model at peptide doses significantly lower than those toxic to the animals, suggesting a satisfactory therapeutic index.
    Peptides 12/2003; 24(11):1723-31. · 2.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The cathelicidin-derived peptide SMAP-29 exerts rapid and broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity against aerobic bacteria and fungi. In this study, the effects of the peptide against the Bacteroides fragilis group, including antibiotic-resistant isolates, Clostridium perfringens and Clostridium difficile reference and clinical isolates, were investigated. The microbicidal activity of SMAP-29 against eight reference and 100 clinical anaerobic strains from a national collection was assessed using a microdilution susceptibility assay, and by determining the killing kinetics on selected strains. The killing mechanism was investigated further by means of a two-colour fluorescent permeabilization assay, and by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The Bacteroides fragilis group, Clostridium reference strains and most clinical isolates were inhibited in vitro by 1-2 microM (3.2-6.4 mg/L) SMAP-29, and killed by 1.5- to 2-fold higher peptide concentrations. The anaerobic bacterial cells were 90%-100% permeabilized within 2 h of exposure to bactericidal concentrations of the peptide. The SEM images of bacteria exposed to SMAP-29 provide morphological evidence that the envelope is an important target of the bactericidal activity of this peptide. These results are consistent with earlier studies indicating that SMAP-29 kills aerobic bacteria with a membranolytic mechanism, and suggest that both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria share surface features that are targeted by this peptide. These studies demonstrate that the spectrum of antibacterial activity of SMAP-29 includes the B. fragilis group and Clostridium species, and encourage further investigations of the therapeutic potential of this peptide.
    Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 10/2003; 52(3):375-81. · 5.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lipopolysaccharides (LPS), or endotoxins, are structural components of gram-negative bacteria implicated in the pathogenesis of septic shock. In this study the antiendotoxin activity of Bac7(1-35), a synthetic peptide based on the sequence of a proline-rich antibacterial peptide from bovine neutrophils, was investigated in vitro and in an experimental rat model of gram-negative septic shock. The ability of Bac7(1-35) to bind LPS from Escherichia coli O111:B4 was determined using a sensitive Limulus chromogenic assay. In the in vivo study, adult male Wistar rats were given an intraperitoneal injection of 1 x 10(9) colony-forming units of E. coli ATCC 25922. All animals were randomized to receive intraperitoneally 1 mg/kg Bac7(1-35), or isotonic sodium chloride solution (control group C1), 60 mg/kg of piperacillin and 1 mg/kg polymyxin B, 1 mg/kg of polymyxin B plus 60 mg/kg of piperacillin, and 1 mg/kg of Bac7(1-35) plus 60 mg/kg of piperacillin. Each group included 15 animals. Bac7(1-35) was found to completely inhibit the LPS procoagulant activity at approximately 10 microM peptide concentration, as determined by in vitro LAL chromogenic assay. Treatment with Bac7(1-35) resulted in significant decrease in plasma endotoxin levels and lethality rates compared with saline injected control animals. No statistically significant differences were noted between Bac7(1-35) and polymyxin B in reducing all variables measured. These results provide evidence for the ability of Bac7(1-35) to effectively bind LPS and protect animals from lethal effects of this molecule, and point to its potential use for the treatment of endotoxin-induced septic shock.
    Shock 07/2003; 19(6):577-81. · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Two laboratory methods, a cell culture system and double fluorogenic staining, were used to study the viability and infective ability of Cryptosporidium parvum sporozoites and oocysts after short-term exposure to four cathelicidin peptides. The compounds, SMAP-29, BMAP-28, PG-1 and Bac7(1-35), exerted a strong cytotoxic effect on sporozoites, but did not affect the viability and function of oocysts consistently. Overall, in the sporozoite series, a percentage of the viable population decreased rapidly to less than detectable levels after 15 and 60 min exposure to the peptides at concentrations of 100 and 10 micro g/mL, respectively. In the oocyst series, no compound produced complete inhibition of parasite growth: 60-85% of the oocyst population was viable after 180 min exposure at 100 micro g/mL. SMAP-29 exerted the highest activity against both sporozoites and oocysts.
    Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 05/2003; 51(4):843-7. · 5.34 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

1k Citations
132.93 Total Impact Points


  • 1992–2012
    • University of Udine
      • Department of Medical and Biological Sciences
      Udine, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
  • 2010
    • University of Milan
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2004–2006
    • Università Politecnica delle Marche
      • Chair of General Surgery
      Ancona, The Marches, Italy
  • 1988–2005
    • Università degli Studi di Trieste
      • Department of Life Sciences
      Trieste, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
  • 2003
    • INRCA Istituto Nazionale di Ricovero e Cura per Anziani
      Ancona, The Marches, Italy
  • 2001
    • AREA Science Park
      Trst, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy