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Asiya Abedin, Imran Mohammed, Andrew Hopkinson, Harminder S. Dua; A Novel Antimicrobial Peptide on the Ocular Surface Shows Decreased Expression in Inflammation and Infection. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2008;49(1):28-33. doi: 10.1167/iovs.07-0645.
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purpose. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are cationic host defense peptides with microbicidal and cell-signaling properties. They show promise as potential therapeutic agents. In the present study, a β-defensin AMP gene was isolated from the ocular surface for the first time, and its expression was characterized in the presence of ocular inflammation and/or infection.
methods. Total RNA was obtained from impression cytology samples of the conjunctiva and cornea of normal patients and of those with bacterial, viral, acanthamoeba, or dry eye disease. The expression of the β-defensin AMP DEFB-109 was determined by using reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Relative quantification of the gene in the various groups was performed by means of real-time PCR.
results. DEFB-109 was constitutively expressed in all samples. The gene showed significantly decreased expression in the presence of all types of inflammation/infection. Reduced expression featured most prominently in acanthamoeba infection; the least change from normal was in dry eye.
conclusions. The discovery of DEFB-109 on the ocular surface enhances our knowledge of the profile of AMPs at this important mucosal surface. The fact that its expression is significantly reduced in both inflammatory and infective ocular surface disease reflects not only an intimate balance between this host defense gene and microbes but indicates a role other than purely microbicidal. This discovery will enable the mechanisms behind the intriguing phenomenon of reduced gene expression of an AMP in disease states to be uncovered.
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