Human Cathelicidin (LL-37), a Multifunctional Peptide, is Expressed by Ocular Surface Epithelia and has Potent Antibacterial and Antiviral Activity

Y. Jerold Gordon, Ling C. Huang, Eric Romanowski, Kathleen Yates, Rita Proske, Alison McDermott

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168 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose: This study determined whether LL-37 (cathelicidin) is expressed by conjunctival and corneal epithelia as part of ocular host defense. The antimicrobial activity of LL-37 was also assessed in vitro against Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA), Staphylococcus aureus (SA), Staphylococcus epidermidis (SE), herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), and adenovirus (Ad). Methods: Expression of LL-37/hCAP 18 mRNA and LL-37 protein was determined by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and immunoblotting, respectively, in scraped human corneal epithelium and primary cultured human corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells. The EC50 values for three strains of PA and one each of SA and SE were determined for LL-37. LL-37 antiviral inhibition of HSV-1 and adenovirus was assessed by direct inactivation assays. Toxicity of LL-37 to A549 cells was evaluated by a MTT assay. Results: LL-37/hCAP18 mRNA and LL-37 peptide were expressed by human corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells. Antibacterial activity for LL-37 was demonstrated (EC50 values for the three PA strains were 2.8 ± 1.3, 1.9 ± 0.3, and 3.6 ± 2.1; for SA: 1.6 ± 1.5; for SE: 1.3 ± 1.9 μ g/ml). LL-37 produced a significant reduction (p <0.001 ANOVA) in HSV-1 and Ad19 viral titers with distinctly different time-kill curves (p <0.001). LL-37 (up to 111 μ M) produced no toxicity in A549 cells. Conclusions: Corneal and conjunctival epithelia express LL-37 as part of mucosal innate immunity to protect against bacterial and viral ocular infections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-394
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Volume30
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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