Table of Contents
International Journal of Peptides
Volume 2014, Article ID 370297, 13 pages
Review Article

Epithelial Antimicrobial Peptides: Guardian of the Oral Cavity

1Department of Dentistry, ESIC Medical College and Hospital, Faridabad, Haryana 121001, India
2Department of Periodontics, Faculty of Dental Sciences, SGT University, Gurgaon, Haryana 122505, India

Received 18 June 2014; Revised 18 August 2014; Accepted 3 September 2014; Published 11 November 2014

Academic Editor: Hubert Vaudry

Copyright © 2014 Mayank Hans and Veenu Madaan Hans. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Gingival epithelium provides first line of defence from the microorganisms present in dental plaque. It not only provides a mechanical barrier but also has an active immune function too. Gingival epithelial cells participate in innate immunity by producing a range of antimicrobial peptides to protect the host against oral pathogens. These epithelial antimicrobial peptides (EAPs) include the β-defensin family, cathelicidin (LL-37), calprotectin, and adrenomedullin. While some are constitutively expressed in gingival epithelial cells, others are induced upon exposure to microbial insults. It is likely that these EAPs have a role in determining the initiation and progression of oral diseases. EAPs are broad spectrum antimicrobials with a different but overlapping range of activity. Apart from antimicrobial activity, they participate in several other crucial roles in host tissues. Some of these, for instance, β-defensins, are chemotactic to immune cells. Others, such as calprotectin are important for wound healing and cell proliferation. Adrenomedullin, a multifunctional peptide, has its biological action in a wide range of tissues. Not only is it a potent vasodilator but also it has several endocrine effects. Knowing in detail the various bioactions of these EAPs may provide us with useful information regarding their utility as therapeutic agents.