The antimicrobial peptide LL-37 is active against oral bacteria and has been demonstrated to be present in human saliva, but its distribution in different fractions of saliva is not known. LL-37 is formed from its intracellular pro-form, hCAP18, in an extracellular enzymatic reaction catalyzed by proteinase 3 and kallikrein 5. Here, we prepared cell-containing and cell-free fractions of unstimulated human whole saliva by centrifugation after depolymerization of mucins with dithiothreitol, and measured the levels of hCAP18/LL-37 in these fractions using ELISA. Cellular expression of hCAP18/LL-37 was determined by western blotting and immunocytochemistry. The ELISA analyses demonstrated that both cells and cell-free saliva contained hCAP18/LL-37. Western blot analysis of cell-pellet homogenates showed a strong band corresponding to hCAP18 at the correct molecular weight and a weak band corresponding to LL-37. Phase-contrast and light microscopy revealed that the cells consisted of desquamated epithelial cells. These cells expressed cytoplasmic immunoreactivity for hCAP18/LL-37. The peripheral part of the cytoplasm, corresponding to the plasma membrane, was particularly rich in hCAP18/LL-37 immunoreactivity. No immunoreactivity was observed after omission of the primary antibody. We conclude that desquamated epithelial cells of human whole saliva contain antimicrobial hCAP18/LL-37, suggesting that these cells may take part in the innate immune system by harboring and releasing these peptides.
Bibliografisk information© 2019 Eur J Oral Sci.
- Cell- och molekylärbiologi