Mammalian defensins in the antimicrobial immune response

Nat Immunol. 2005 Jun;6(6):551-7. doi: 10.1038/ni1206.


Defensins are peptidic components of the innate immune system of plants and animals. In mammals, defensins have evolved to have a central function in the host defense properties of granulocytic leukocytes, mucosal surfaces, skin and other epithelia. This review focuses on the biological functions of three structural subgroups of mammalian defensins and the evidence for their involvement as effectors of antimicrobial innate immunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Defensins / chemistry
  • Defensins / classification
  • Defensins / genetics
  • Defensins / immunology*
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Structure


  • Defensins