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Original article
Intestinal mucus affinity and biological activity of an orally administered antibacterial and anti-inflammatory peptide
  1. Aline Dupont1,
  2. Yani Kaconis2,
  3. Ines Yang1,
  4. Thorben Albers1,
  5. Sabrina Woltemate1,
  6. Lena Heinbockel2,
  7. Mats Andersson3,
  8. Sebastian Suerbaum1,
  9. Klaus Brandenburg2,
  10. Mathias W Hornef1
  1. 1Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hospital Epidemiology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany
  2. 2Division of Biophysics, Research Center Borstel, Borstel, Germany
  3. 3Microbiology and Tumor Biology Center, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
  1. Correspondence to Dr Mathias Hornef, Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hospital Epidemiology, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg Str. 1, Hannover D-30625, Germany; hornef.mathias{at}


Objective Antimicrobial peptides (AMP) provide protection from infection by pathogenic microorganisms and restrict bacterial growth at epithelial surfaces to maintain mucosal homeostasis. In addition, they exert a significant anti-inflammatory activity. Here we analysed the anatomical distribution and biological activity of an orally administered AMP in the context of bacterial infection and host–microbial homeostasis.

Design The anatomical distribution as well as antibacterial and anti-inflammatory activity of the endogenous AMP cryptdin 2 and the synthetic peptide Pep19-2.5 at the enteric mucosal surface were analysed by immunostaining, functional viability and stimulation assays, an oral Salmonella enterica subsp. enterica sv. Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium) model and comparative microbiota analysis.

Results Endogenous cryptdin 2 was found attached to bacteria of the enteric microbiota within the intestinal mucus layer. Similarly, the synthetic peptide Pep19-2.5 attached rapidly to bacterial cells, exhibited a marked affinity for the intestinal mucus layer in vivo, altered the structural organisation of endotoxin in a mucus matrix and demonstrated potent anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activity. Oral Pep19-2.5 administration induced significant changes in the composition of the enteric microbiota as determined by high-throughput 16S rDNA sequencing. This may have contributed to the only transient improvement of the clinical symptoms after oral infection with S. Typhimurium.

Conclusions Our findings demonstrate the anti-inflammatory activity and mucus affinity of the synthetic AMP Pep19-2.5 and characterise the influence on microbiota composition and enteropathogen infection after oral administration.


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