Cathelicidin mediates innate intestinal defense against colonization with epithelial adherent bacterial pathogens

Mitsutoshi Iimura, Richard L. Gallo, Koji Hase, Yukiko Miyamoto, Lars Eckmann, Martin F. Kagnoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

190 Citations (Scopus)


Cathelicidin-related antimicrobial peptide (mCRAMP), the sole murine cathelicidin, is encoded by the gene Cnlp. We show that mCRAMP expression in the intestinal tract is largely restricted to surface epithelial cells in the colon. Synthetic mCRAMP had antimicrobial activity against the murine enteric pathogen Citrobacter rodentium, which like the related clinically important human pathogens enteropathogenic Escherichia coli and enterohemorrhagic E. coli, adheres to the apical membrane of intestinal epithelial cells. Colon epithelial cell extracts from Cnlp+/+ mice had significantly greater antimicrobial activity against C. rodentium than those of mutant Cnlp -/- mice that lack mCRAMP. Cnlp-/- mice developed significantly greater colon surface and crypt epithelial cell colonization, surface epithelial cell damage, and systemic dissemination of infection than Cnlp+/+ mice after oral infection with C. rodentium. Moreover, Cnlp+/+ mice were protected from oral infections with C. rodentium inocula that infected the majority of Cnlp-/- mice. These results establish cathelicidin as an important component of innate antimicrobial defense in the colon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4901-4907
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Apr 15
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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