Immune modulation by multifaceted cationic host defense (antimicrobial) peptides

Ashley L. Hilchie, Kelli Wuerth, Robert E.W. Hancock

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

494 Citations (Scopus)


Cationic host defense (antimicrobial) peptides were originally studied for their direct antimicrobial activities. They have since been found to exhibit multifaceted immunomodulatory activities, including profound anti-infective and selective anti-inflammatory properties, as well as adjuvant and wound-healing activities in animal models. These biological properties suggest that host defense peptides, and synthetic derivatives thereof, possess clinical potential beyond the treatment of antibiotic-resistant infections. In this Review, we provide an overview of the biological activities of host defense and synthetic peptides, their mechanism(s) of action and new therapeutic applications and challenges that are associated with their clinical use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-768
Number of pages8
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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