Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 29542263
J. Pept. Sci. 2018 Mar;24(3)
The human gut barrier is the tissue exposed to the highest load of microorganisms, harbouring 100 trillion bacteria. In addition, the gut’s renewal rate outruns that of any other human tissue. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are highly optimized defense molecules in the intestinal barrier optimized to maintain gastrointestinal homeostasis. Alterations in AMPs activity can lead to or result from human gastrointestinal diseases. In this review, unique, conserved, or otherwise regular alterations in the expression patterns of human AMPs across gastrointestinal inflammatory and infectious diseases were analyzed for pattern elucidation. Human gastrointestinal diseases are associated with alterations in gut AMPs’ expression patterns in a peptide-specific, disease-specific, and pathogen-specific way, modulating human gastrointestinal functioning. Across diseases, there is a (i) marked reduction in otherwise constitutively expressed AMPs, leading to increased disease susceptibility, and a (ii) significant increase in the expression of inducible AMPs, leading to tissue damage and disease severity. Infections and inflammatory conditions are associated with altered gene expression in the gut, whose patterns may favour cellular metaplasia, mucosal dysfunction, and disease states. Altered expression of AMPs can thus thrive disease severity and evolution since its early stages. Nevertheless, the modulation of AMP expression patterns unveils promising therapeutic targets.