Medycyna Wet. 67 (8), 517-521, 2011
Mirski T., Gryko R., Bartoszcze M., Bielawska-Drózd A., Tyszkiewicz W.
Antimicrobial peptides: new possibilities to combat infections in humans and animals
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), also called peptide antibiotics, have been discovered in the early 1980s in frogs They were antimicrobial substances called magainins. AMPs are among the oldest defense mechanisms in plants, humans and animals. The major peptides include i.a. defensins, cathelicidins and protegrins. The mechanisms of action of antimicrobial peptides rely on the permeabilization of the microbial membrane, destabilization of the lipid bilayer structure, creation of micelles or channels within the membrane, binding lipopolysaccharide (LPS), preventing DNA replication, inhibiting protein expression, releasing ATP, as well as binding free iron and removing it from the microbial growth environment. At present, intensive research is being conducted on the use of AMPs in human and veterinary medicine, including treatment of infections such as acne, skin infections, sepsis, and bacterial infections of the diabetic foot. Among others, the following preparations are being tested: Ambicin, for the treatment of infections caused by Mycobacterium, and Iseganan, protegrin for the treatment of mouth inflammation, CF and chronic lung infections. P. aeruginosa-infected animals treated with the D2A21 preparation showed 100% survival. Some of the AMPs show biocidal activity against Bacillus anthracis. Defensins isolated from the mucus and tissues of many fish species have the ability to protect fish from infections by Aeromonas hydrophila, Pseudomonas fluorescens, and Vibrio anguillarum. Beneficial effects of using defensins in the treatment of Borrelia burgdorferi infections in dogs have been described. Synthetic peptides are used for the production of a vaccine against parvovirosis. Peptides obtained from lactic acid bacteria (LAB) reduce the contamination and increase the stability of food products. AMPs are also useful for decontaminating the environment and medical equipment, as well as for sterilizing catheters. They have also been used to develop biocidal self-disinfecting surfaces (BSOs). Moreover, AMPs can be used in hospital hygiene and veterinary medicine, e.g., for the treatment of protective clothing, wipes, filters, ventilation, etc.
Keywords: antimicrobial peptides, characteristics, mechanism of activity, application