Protective effects of Cathelicidin against glomerulonephritis through promotion of host defense

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AJBM  Volume 2, Issue 2, pages 212–223, February 2014                 Full Text-PDF 

Ajay H. Bahl, Wanda Lee, Sang-Jin Song, Nicolas R Geren, Christopher M Haas, Ying H Ekong, and Georges D Wittmann


Cathelicidin-related antimicrobial peptides are a family of polypeptides found in lysosomes of macrophages and polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNs). Some of these peptides can assume an alpha-helical conformation, others contain one or two disulfide bonds, still others are Pro- and Arg-rich, or Trp-rich. Higher levels of human cathelicidin antimicrobial protein (hCAP18), which are up-regulated by vitamin D, appear to significantly reduce the risk of death from infection in dialysis patients. Using in vitro and in vivo models of kidney infection, we demonstrate key antimicrobial and host immunomodulatory properties of cathelicidins. To directly assess the role of endogenous cathelicidin in the development of glomerulonephritis, WT and mCRAMP KO mice were provided with 5% DSS to induce glomerulonephritis. Some mice groups were administered with E. coli DNA I.P. Our findings showed that mCRAMP KO mice develop more severe glomerulonephritis. These data demonstrate key roles for cathelicidins in host defense against glomerulonephritis and the potential to inform the development of synthetic analogues to modulate specific host-pathogen interactions as novel antimicrobial therapeutics.

Key words: Cathelicidin, Glomerulonephritis, E. coli DNA, mCRAMP KO mice