Korting, Hans Christian; Schöllmann, C.; Stauss-Grabo, M.; Schäfer-Korting, Monika
Antimicrobial Peptides and Skin: A Paradigm of Translational Medicine.
In: Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, No. 6: pp. 323-334
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are small, cationic, amphiphilic peptides with broad-spectrum microbicidal activity against both bacteria and fungi. In mammals, AMPs form the first line of host defense against infections and generally play an important role as effector agents of the innate immune system. The AMP era was born more than 6 decades ago when the first cationic cyclic peptide antibiotics, namely polymyxins and tyrothricin, found their way into clinical use. Due to the good clinical experience in the treatment of, for example, infections of mucus membranes as well as the subsequent understanding of mode of action, AMPs are now considered for treatment of inflammatory skin diseases and for improving healing of infected wounds. Based on the preclinical findings, including pathobiochemistry and molecular medicine, targeted therapy strategies are developed and first results indicate that AMPs influence processes of diseased skin. Importantly, in contrast to other antibiotics, AMPs do not seem to propagate the development of antibiotic-resistant micro-organisms. Therefore, AMPs should be tested in clinical trials for their efficacy and tolerability in inflammatory skin diseases and chronic wounds. Apart from possible fields of application, these peptides appear suited as an example of the paradigm of translational medicine for skin diseases which is today seen as a `two-way road' - from bench to bedside and backwards from bedside to bench. Copyright (c) 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel