The host defense peptide LL-37 is detected in human parotid and submandibular/sublingual saliva and expressed in glandular neutrophils

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The human host defense peptide, LL-37, is an important player in the first line of defense against invading microorganisms. LL-37 and its precursor, hCAP18, have been detected in unstimulated whole saliva but no reports showing hCAP18/LL-37 in isolated, parotid, and/or submandibular/sublingual saliva have been presented. Here, we measured the levels of hCAP18/LL-37 in human parotid and submandibular/sublingual saliva and investigated the expression of hCAP18/LL-37 in parotid and submandibular gland tissue. Parotid and submandibular/sublingual saliva was collected from healthy volunteers, and the levels of hCAP18/LL-37 in saliva were analyzed by dot blot, ELISA, and western blotting. Cellular expression of hCAP18/LL-37 in human parotid and submandibular glands was investigated by immunohistochemistry. Immunoreactivity for hCAP18/LL-37 was detected in both parotid and submandibular/sublingual saliva of all individuals. The concentration of hCAP18/LL-37 was similar in parotid and submandibular/sublingual saliva, and was determined by densitometric scanning of each dot and normalization to the total protein concentration of each sample, and by ELISA. Double immunohistochemistry revealed that intravascular neutrophils of both parotid and submandibular glands express hCAP18/LL-37. For the first time, we demonstrate hCAP18/LL-37 in isolated human parotid and submandibular/sublingual saliva and expression of hCAP18/LL-37 in glandular intravascular neutrophils, indicating that neutrophils of the major salivary glands contribute to the LL-37 content of whole saliva.


External organisations
  • Swedish Dental Service of Skåne
  • Karolinska University Hospital
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Malmö University
  • Karolinska Institutet
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Other Clinical Medicine


  • Antimicrobial peptide, Cathelicidin, HCAP18, Innate immune system, Salivary glands
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-100
JournalEuropean Journal of Oral Sciences
Issue number2
Early online date2018 Feb 9
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Publication categoryResearch