Ocular Surface Expression andIn VitroActivity of Antimicrobial Peptides

Ling C. Huang, Daniele Jean, Rita Proske, Rose Reins, Alison McDermott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Human ocular surface epithelia express four antimicrobial peptides (APs): β -defensin (hBD) 1-3 and LL-37. Here the expression of additional APs (hBD 4-6, HE2β 1; histatin-1, -3; liver expressed antimicrobial peptide-1, -2; macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-3α, and thymosin (T)β -4) was sought and activity against common ocular pathogens studied. Methods: AP expression was determined in human corneal and conjunctival epithelial cells (HCEC, HCjEC) by RT-PCR and in corneal sections by immunostaining. Antimicrobial assays were performed to assess peptide (hBD 1-3, LL-37, MIP-3α, and Tβ 4) activity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA), Staphylococcus aureus (SA), and Staphylococcus epidermidis (SE) in the presence of NaCl or tears. Results: HCEC and HCjEC expressed MIP-3α and Tβ 4. hBD 1-3, MIP-3α, and Tβ 4 showed activity against PA. hBD-3 had potent activity against SA and SE, whereas hBD-2, MIP-3α and Tβ 4 had moderate activity and hBD-1 had none. NaCl markedly attenuated, and tears almost completely inhibited the activity of hBD 1-2 and Tβ 4, but not that of hBD-3. Conclusions: The ocular surface epithelia additionally express MIP-3α and Tβ 4 which have moderate antimicrobial activity. The current data support a role for hBD-3 as an antimicrobial peptide in vivo, but call in to question the effectiveness of some other APs. However, further study is required to conclusively elucidate the physiological role of each AP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-609
JournalCurrent Eye Research
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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