Abstract: Cystic Fibrosis (CF) is the most common fatal monogenic disease among Caucasians. While CF affects multiple organ systems, the principle morbidity arises from progressive destruction of lung architecture due to chronic bacterial infection and inflammation. It is characterized by an innate immune defect that results in colonization of the airways with bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa from an early age. Within the airway microenvironment the innate immune cells including epithelial cells, neutrophils, and macrophages have all been implicated in the host defense defect. The neutrophil, however, is the principal effector cell facilitating bacterial killing, but also participates in lung damage. This is evidenced by a disproportionately elevated neutrophil burden in the airways and increased neutrophil products capable of tissue degradation, such as neutrophil elastase. The CF airways also contain an abundance of nuclear material that may be originating from neutrophils. Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are the product of a novel neutrophil death process that involves the expulsion of nuclear material embedded with histones, proteases, and antimicrobial proteins and peptides. NETs have been postulated to contribute to the bacterial killing capacity of neutrophils, however they also function as a source of proteases and other neutrophil products that may contribute to lung injury. Targeting nuclear material with inhaled DNase therapy improves lung function and reduces exacerbations in CF and some of these effects may be due to the degradation of NETs. We critically discuss the evidence for an antimicrobial function of NETs and their potential to cause lung damage and inflammation. We propose that CF animal models that recapitulate the human CF phenotype such as the CFTR−/− pig may be useful in further elucidating a role for NETs.
Abstract: The emergence of antibiotic resistance seriously threatens our ability to treat many common and medically important bacterial infections. Novel therapeutics are needed that can be used alone or in conjunction with antibiotics. Cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs) are important effectors of the host innate defense that exhibit broad-spectrum activity against a wide range of microorganisms. CAMPs are carried within phagocytic granules and are constitutively or inducibly expressed by multiple cell types, including epithelial cells. The role of histone modification enzymes, specifically the histone deacetylases (HDAC), in down-regulating the transcription of CAMP-encoding genes is increasingly appreciated as is the capacity of HDAC inhibitors (HDACi) to block the action of HDACs to increase CAMP expression. The use of synthetic and natural HDACi molecules to increase CAMPs on mucosal surfaces, therefore, has potential therapeutic applications. Here, we review host and pathogen regulation of CAMP expression through the induction of HDACs and assess the therapeutic potential of natural and synthetic HDACi based on evidence from tissue culture systems, animal models, and clinical trials.
Abstract: Cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs) are important innate immune defenses that inhibit colonization by pathogens and contribute to clearance of infections. Gram-negative bacterial pathogens are a major target, yet many of them have evolved mechanisms to resist these antimicrobials. These resistance mechanisms can be critical contributors to bacterial virulence and are often crucial for survival within the host. Here, we summarize methods used by Gram-negative bacteria to resist CAMPs. Understanding these mechanisms may lead to new therapeutic strategies against pathogens with extensive CAMP resistance.
Abstract: Catheter-related bloodstream infection (C-RBSI) is one of the most frequent nosocomial infections. It is associated with high rates of morbidity and mortality. Candida spp. is the third most common cause of C-RBSI after coagulase-negative staphylococci and Staphylococcus aureus and is responsible for approximately 8% of episodes. The main cause of catheter-related candidemia is the ability of some Candida strains—mainly C. albicans and C. parapsilosis—to produce biofilms. Many in vitro and in vivo models have been designed to assess the activity of antifungal drugs against Candida biofilms. Echinocandins have proven to be the most active antifungal drugs. Potential optionsin situations where the catheter cannot be removed include the combination of systemic and lock antifungal therapy. However, well-designed and -executed clinical trials must be performed before firm recommendations can be issued.
Abstract: Protegrins are porcine antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) that belong to the cathelicidin family of host defense peptides. Protegrin-1 (PG-1), the most investigated member of the protegrin family, is an arginine-rich peptide consisting of 18 amino acid residues, its main chain adopting a β-hairpin structure that is linked by two disulfide bridges. We report on the immune modulatory activity of PG-1 and its analogs in neutralizing bacterial endotoxin and capsular polysaccharides, consequently inhibiting inflammatory mediators’ release from macrophages. We demonstrate that the β-hairpin structure motif stabilized with at least one disulfide bridge is a prerequisite for the immune modulatory activity of this type of AMP.