Host defence peptides: antimicrobial and immunomodulatory activity and potential applications for tackling antibiotic-resistant infections

Emerg Health Threats J. 2009;2:e1. doi: 10.3134/ehtj.09.001. Epub 2009 Feb 24.


The rapidly increasing incidence of multidrug-resistant infections and the alarmingly low rate of discovery of conventional antibiotics create an urgent need for alternative strategies to treat bacterial infections. Host defence peptides are short cationic molecules produced by the immune systems of most multicellular organisms; they are a class of compounds being actively researched. In this review, we provide an overview of the antimicrobial and immunomodulatory activities of natural host defence peptides, and discuss strategies for creating artificial derivatives with improved biological and pharmacological properties, issues of microbial resistance, and challenges associated with their adaptation for clinical use.