Saliva induces expression of antimicrobial peptides and promotes intracellular killing of bacteria in keratinocytes by epidermal growth factor receptor transactivation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Background: Wounds in the oral cavity, constantly exposed to both saliva and bacteria, heal quickly without infection. Furthermore, during licking of skin wounds, saliva promotes wound healing and plays a role in keeping the wound free of infection. Objectives: To investigate whether saliva induces expression of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) in human epidermal keratinocytes and whether saliva promotes clearance of intracellular bacteria in these cells. Methods: Expression of AMPs was investigated in the oral mucosa and ex vivo injured skin by immunohistochemistry. Human beta-defensin-3 expression was investigated in epidermal keratinocytes after saliva stimulation, using real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunofluorescence. Results: We found higher expression of AMPs in the oral mucosa than in the epidermis. Saliva accelerated the injury-induced expression of AMPs in human skin ex vivo and was a potent inducer of the expression of AMPs in epidermal keratinocytes. The expression of AMPs was induced by metalloproteinase-dependent epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) transactivation mediated by a salivary lipid. Saliva increased the intracellular clearance of Staphylococcus aureus in keratinocytes through EGFR activation. Conclusions: These findings suggest a previously unreported role of saliva in innate immunity and demonstrate for the first time that saliva induces gene expression in epidermal keratinocytes.

Details

Authors
Organisations
External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • University of Kiel
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Dermatology and Venereal Diseases
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)403-412
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Dermatology
Volume176
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Feb 1
Publication categoryResearch
Peer-reviewedYes