Antimicrobial activity of neuropeptides against a range of micro-organisms from skin, oral, respiratory and gastrointestinal tract sites

J Neuroimmunol. 2008 Aug 30;200(1-2):11-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2008.05.014. Epub 2008 Jul 7.


Many neuropeptides are similar in size, amino acid composition and charge to antimicrobial peptides. This study aimed to determine whether the neuropeptides substance P (SP), neurokinin A (NKA), calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), neuropeptide Y (NPY) and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP), displayed antimicrobial activity against Streptococcus mutans, Lactobacillus acidophilus, Enterococcus faecalis, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans. SP, NPY, VIP and CGRP displayed variable degrees of antimicrobial activity against all the pathogens tested with the exception of S. aureus. These antimicrobial activities add a further dimension to the immunomodulatory roles for neuropeptides in the inflammatory and immune responses.

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anticoagulants / pharmacology
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / immunology
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Heparin / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Mouth / microbiology*
  • Neuropeptides / pharmacology*
  • Respiratory System / microbiology*
  • Skin / microbiology*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Anticoagulants
  • Neuropeptides
  • Tetrazolium Salts
  • Thiazoles
  • Heparin
  • thiazolyl blue