Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) stimulates proliferation, angiogenesis, and inflammation to promote Kaposi sarcoma (KS) tumor growth, which involves various growth factors and cytokines. Previously, we found that KSHV infection of human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) induces a transcriptional induction of the proangiogenic and proinflammatory cytokine angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2). Here, we report that KSHV induces rapid release of Ang-2 that is presynthesized and stored in the Weibel-Palade bodies (WPB) of endothelial cells upon binding to its integrin receptors. Blocking viral binding to integrins inhibits Ang-2 release. KSHV binding activates the integrin tyrosine kinase receptor signaling pathways, leading to tyrosine phosphorylation of focal adhesion kinase (FAK), the tyrosine kinase Src, and the Calα2 subunit of the l-type calcium channel to trigger rapid calcium (Ca2+) influx. Pretreatment of endothelial cells with specific inhibitors of protein tyrosine kinases inhibits KSHV-induced Ca2+ influx and Ang-2 release. Inhibition of Ca2+ mobilization with calcium channel blockers also inhibits Ang-2 release. Thus, the interaction between KSHV and its integrin receptors plays a key role in regulating rapid Ang-2 release from endothelial cells. This finding highlights a novel mechanism of viral induction of angiogenesis and inflammation, which might play important roles in the early event of KS tumor development.
Wounding of the oral mucosa occurs frequently in a highly septic environment. Remarkably, these wounds heal quickly and the oral cavity, for the most part, remains healthy. Deciphering the normal human oral epithelial cell (NHOEC) proteome is critical for understanding the mechanism(s) of protection elicited when the mucosal barrier is intact, as well as when it is breached. Combining 2D gel electrophoresis with shotgun proteomics resulted in identification of 1662 NHOEC proteins. Proteome annotations were performed based on protein classes, molecular functions, disease association and membership in canonical and metabolic signaling pathways. Comparing the NHOEC proteome with a database of innate immunity-relevant interactions (InnateDB) identified 64 common proteins associated with innate immunity. Comparison with published salivary proteomes revealed that 738/1662 NHOEC proteins were common, suggesting that significant numbers of salivary proteins are of epithelial origin. Gene ontology analysis showed similarities in the distributions of NHOEC and saliva proteomes with regard to biological processes, and molecular functions. We also assessed the inter-individual variability of the NHOEC proteome and observed it to be comparable with other primary cells. The baseline proteome described in this study should serve as a resource for proteome studies of the oral mucosa, especially in relation to disease processes.
Primary human oral epithelial cells; proteomics; inter-individual variability; innate immunity; saliva
The contribution of HIV-infection to periodontal disease (PD) is poorly understood. We proposed that immunological markers would be associated with improved clinical measures of PD.
We performed a longitudinal cohort study of HIV-infected adults who had started highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) <2 years. PD was characterized clinically as the percent of teeth with ≥1 site with periodontal probing depth (PPD) ≥5.0mm, recession (REC) >0mm, clinical attachment level (CAL) ≥4.0mm, and bleeding on probing (BOP) at ≥4 sites/tooth and microbiologically as specific periodontopathogen concentration. Linear mixed-effects models were used to assess the associations between immune function and PD.
Forty (40) subjects with median 2.7 months on HAART and median nadir CD4+ T-cell count of 212 cells/μl completed a median 3 visits. Over 24 months, CD4+ T-cell count increased by a mean 173 cells/µl (p<0.001) and HIV RNA decreased by 0.5 log10 copies/ml (p<0.001); concurrently, PPD, CAL and BOP decreased by a mean 11.7%, 12.1%, and 14.7% respectively (all p<0.001). Lower nadir CD4+ T-cell count was associated with worse baseline REC (-6.72%; p=0.04) and CAL (9.06%; p<0.001). Further, lower nadir CD4+ T-cell count was associated with a greater relative longitudinal improvement in PPD in subjects with higher baseline levels of Porphyromonas gingivalis (p=0.027), and BOP in subjects with higher baseline levels of Porphyromonas gingivalis or Treponema denticola (p=0.001 and p=0.006 respectively). Longitudinal changes from baseline in CD4+ T-cell count and level of HIV RNA were not independently associated with longitudinal changes in any clinical markers of PD.
Degree of immunosuppression was associated with baseline gingival recession. After HAART initiation, measures of active PD improved most in those with lower nadir CD4+ T-cell counts and higher baseline levels of specific periodontopathogens. Nadir CD4+ T-cell count differentially influences periodontal disease both before and after HAART in HIV-infected adults.
Since the beginning of the AIDS pandemic, and following the discovery of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) as the etiological agent of the disease, it was clear that the virus gains access to the human host predominantly through the mucosal tissue after sexual exposure. As a consequence, the female genital tract (vaginal and cervical), as well as the rectal, penile, and oral mucosae have been extensively studied over the last thirty years towards a better understanding of - and to develop strategies to prevent - sexual HIV transmission. This review seeks to describe the biology of the events leading to HIV infection through the human mucosa and introduce some of the approaches attempted to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV.
HIV-infected subjects on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) are susceptible to comorbid microbial infections in the oral cavity. We observed that primary oral epithelial cells (POECs) isolated from HIV+ subjects on HAART grow more slowly and are less innate immune responsive to microbial challenge when compared with POECs from normal subjects. These aberrant cells also demonstrate epigenetic differences that include reduction in histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC-1) levels and reduced total DNA methyltransferase (DNMT) activity specific to enzymes DNMT1 and DNMT3A. The DNMT activity correlates well with global DNA methylation, indicating that aberrant DNMT activity in HIV+ (on HAART) POECs leads to an aberrantly methylated epithelial cell phenotype. Overall, our results lead us to hypothesize that, in patients with chronic HIV infection on HAART, epigenetic changes in key genes result in increased vulnerability to microbial infection in the oral cavity.
oral epithelium; HIV; HAART; DNMTs; HDAC-1; hBD-2
Kaposi sarcoma (KS) tumors often contain a wild-type p53. However, the function of this tumor suppressor in KS tumor cells is inhibited by both MDM2 and latent nuclear antigen (LANA) of Kaposi sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV). Here, we report that MDM2 antagonist Nutlin-3 efficiently reactivates p53 in telomerase-immortalized human umbilical vein endothelial cells (TIVE) that had been malignantly transformed by KSHV as well as in KS tumor cells. Reactivation of p53 results in a G1 cell cycle arrest, leading to inhibition of proliferation and apoptosis. Nutlin-3 inhibits the growth of “KS-like” tumors resulting from xenografted TIVE-KSHV cells in nude mice. In addition, Nutlin-3 strongly inhibits expression of the pro-angiogenic and pro-inflammatory cytokine angiopoietin-2 (Ang-2). It also disrupts viral latency by inducing expression of KSHV lytic genes. these results suggest that Nutlin-3 might serve as a novel therapy for KS.
Kaposi sarcoma (KS); nutlin-3; p53; cell cycle arrest; apoptosis; angiopoietin-2
DEFB4/103A encoding β-defensin 2 and 3, respectively, inhibit CXCR4-tropic (X4) viruses in vitro. We determined whether DEFB4/103A Copy Number Variation (CNV) influences time-to-X4 and time-to-AIDS outcomes.
We utilized samples from a previously published Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), which provides longitudinal account of viral tropism in relation to the full spectrum of rates of disease progression. Using traditional models for time-to-event analysis, we investigated association between DEFB4/103A CNV and the two outcomes, and interaction between DEFB4/103A CNV and disease progression groups, Fast and Slow.
Time-to-X4 and time-to-AIDS were weakly correlated. There was a stronger relationship between these two outcomes for the fast progressors. DEFB4/103A CNV was associated with time-to-AIDS, but not time-to-X4. The association between higher DEFB4/103A CNV and time-to-AIDS was more pronounced for the slow progressors.
DEFB4/103A CNV was associated with time-to-AIDS in a disease progression group-specific manner in the MACS cohort. Our findings may contribute to enhancing current understanding of how genetic predisposition influences AIDS progression.
AIDS progression; β-Defensin; DEFB4; DEFB103A; MACS; X4 emergence
The determinants of HIV-associated cardiovascular disease (CVD) are not well understood. Periodontal disease (PD) has been linked to CVD but this connection has not been examined in HIV infection. We followed a cohort of HIV-infected adults to ascertain whether PD was associated with carotid artery intima media thickness (IMT) and brachial artery flow-mediated dilation (FMD). We performed a longitudinal observational study of HIV-infected adults on HAART for <2 years with no known heart disease. PD was characterized clinically and microbiologically. Cardiovascular disease was assessed by IMT/FMD. Linear mixed models assessed cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between PD and FMD/IMT. Forty three HIV+ adults completed a median of 24 (6–44) months on the study. Defining delta to be the change in a variable between baseline and a follow-up time, longitudinally, on average and after adjusting for change in time, CVD-specific and HIV-specific potential confounding covariates, a 1-log10 increase in delta Porphyromonas gingivalis was associated with a 0.013 mm increase in delta IMT (95% CI: 0.0006–0.0262; p=0.04). After adjusting for the same potential confounding covariates, a 10% increase in delta gingival recession was associated with a 2.3% increase in delta FMD (95% CI: 0.4–4.2; p=0.03). In a cohort of HIV-infected adults, an increase in subgingival Porphyromonas gingivalis, a known periodontal pathogen, was significantly associated with longitudinal increases in IMT, while increased gingival recession, which herein may represent PD resolution, was significantly associated with longitudinal improvement in FMD. In the context of HIV infection, PD may contribute to CVD risk. Intervention studies treating PD may help clarify this association.
Beta defensins are antimicrobial peptides that serve to protect the host from microbial invasion at skin and mucosal surfaces. Here we explore the relationships among beta defensin levels, total bacterial colonization, and colonization by bacterial vaginosis (BV)-related bacteria and lactobacilli in the female genital tract in HIV infected women and healthy controls. Cervicovaginal lavage (CVL) samples were obtained from 30 HIV-infected women and 36 uninfected controls. Quantitative PCR assays were used to measure DNA levels of bacterial 16S ribosomal DNA (reflective of total bacterial load), and levels of three BV-related bacteria, three Lactobacillus species (L. crispatus, L. iners and L. jensenii), and total Lactobacillus levels in CVL. Levels of human beta defensins (hBD-2 and hBD-3) were quantified by ELISA. In viremic HIV+ donors, we found that CVL levels of bacterial 16S rDNA were significantly increased, and inversely correlated with peripheral CD4+ T cell counts in HIV+ women, and inversely correlated with age in both HIV+ women and controls. Although CVL DNA levels of BV-associated bacteria tended to be increased, and CVL levels of lactobacillus DNAs tended to be decreased in HIV+ donors, none of these differences was significant. CVL levels of hBD-2 and hBD-3 were correlated and were not different in HIV+ women and controls. However, significant positive correlations between hBD-3 levels and total bacterial DNA levels in controls were not demonstrable in HIV+ women; the significant positive correlations of hBD2 or hBD-3 and three Lactobacillus species in controls were also not demonstrable in HIV+ women. These results suggest that HIV infection is associated with impaired regulation of innate defenses at mucosal sites.
HIV; Bacterial 16S rDNA; beta defensins; Cervicovaginal lavage
Cells of the innate immune system regulate immune responses through the production of antimicrobial peptides, chemokines, and cytokines, including human beta-defensins (hBDs) and CCL20. In this study, we examined the kinetics of primary human oral epithelial cell (HOEC) production of CCL20 and hBDs in response to Fusobacterium nucleatum, a commensal bacterium of the oral cavity, which we previously showed promotes HOEC induction of hBDs. HOECs secrete maximal levels of CCL20 at 6 h, following stimulation by F. nucleatum cell wall (FnCW). The kinetics of CCL20 release is distinct from that of hBD-2 and -3, which peaks after 24 h and 48 h of FnCW stimulation, respectively. FnCW-induced release of CCL20 by HOECs requires both transcriptional and translational activation. Release of CCL20 by HOECs is inhibited by brefeldin A, suggesting that it is secreted through a vesicle transport pathway. Other epithelium-derived agents that FnCW induces, such as hBD-2, hBD-3, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-1β (IL-1β), are also able to release CCL20. By focusing on mitogen-activated protein kinases, we show that both extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 and p38, but not JNK, are required for hBD-, TNF-α-, and IL-1β-induced secretion of CCL20 by HOECs. The ability of FnCW and its induced hBDs to produce proinflammatory cytokines and CCL20 suggests the broad role of F. nucleatum and human antimicrobial peptides in primary immune responses elicited by oral epithelium.
It is widely accepted that the brain responds to mechanical trauma and development of most neurodegenerative diseases with an inflammatory sequelae that was once thought exclusive to systemic immunity. Mostly cationic peptides, such as the β-defensins, originally assigned an antimicrobial function are now recognized as mediators of both innate and adaptive immunity. Herein supporting evidence is presented for the hypothesis that neuropathological changes associated with chronic disease conditions of the CNS involve abnormal expression and regulatory function of specific antimicrobial peptides. It is also proposed that these alterations exacerbate proinflammatory conditions within the brain that ultimately potentiate the neurodegenerative process.
Rapidly evolving research examining the extended role of human beta-defensins (hBDs) in chemoattraction, innate immune-mediated response, and promotion of angiogenesis suggest that the collective effects of hBDs extend well beyond their antimicrobial mechanism(s). Indeed, the numerous basic cellular functions associated with hBDs demonstrate that these peptides have dual impact on health, as they may be advantageous under certain conditions, but potentially detrimental in others. The consequences of these functions are reflected in the overexpression of hBDs in diseases, such as psoriasis, and recently the association of hBDs with pro-tumoral signaling. The mechanisms regulating hBD response in health and disease are still being elucidated. Clearly the spectrum of function now attributed to hBD regulation identifies these molecules as important cellular regulators, whose appropriate expression is critical for proper immune surveillance; i.e., expression of hBDs in proximity to areas of cellular dysregulation may inadvertently exacerbate disease progression. Understanding the mechanism(s) that regulate contextual signaling of hBDs is an important area of concentration in our laboratories. Using a combination of immunologic, biochemical, and molecular biologic approaches, we have identified signaling pathways associated with hBD promotion of immune homeostasis and have begun to dissect the inappropriate role that beta-defensins may assume in disease.
human beta defensins; epithelial cells; carcinoma; monocytes; gingiva
The oral epithelium, the most abundant structural tissue lining the oral mucosa, is an important line of defense against infectious microorganisms. HIV infected subjects on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) are susceptible to comorbid viral, bacterial and fungal infections in the oral cavity. To provide an assessment of the molecular alterations of oral epithelia potentially associated with susceptibility to comorbid infections in such subjects, we performed various proteomic studies on over twenty HIV infected and healthy subjects. In a discovery phase two Dimensional Difference Gel Electrophoresis (2-D DIGE) analyses of human oral gingival epithelial cell (HOEC) lysates were carried out; this identified 61 differentially expressed proteins between HIV-infected on HAART subjects and healthy controls. Down regulated proteins in HIV-infected subjects include proteins associated with maintenance of protein folding and pro- and anti-inflammatory responses (e.g., heat-shock proteins, Cryab, Calr, IL-1RA, and Galectin-3-binding protein) as well as proteins involved in redox homeostasis and detoxification (e.g., Gstp1, Prdx1, and Ero1). Up regulated proteins include: protein disulfide isomerases, proteins whose expression is negatively regulated by Hsp90 (e.g., Ndrg1), and proteins that maintain cellular integrity (e.g., Vimentin). In a verification phase, proteins identified in the protein profiling experiments and those inferred from Ingenuity Pathway Analysis were analyzed using Western blotting analysis on separate HOEC lysate samples, confirming many of the discovery findings. Additionally in HIV-infected patient samples Heat Shock Factor 1 is down regulated, which explains the reduced heat shock responses, while activation of the MAPK signal transduction cascade is observed. Overall, HAART therapy provides an incomplete immune recovery of the oral epithelial cells of the oral cavity for HIV-infected subjects, and the toxic side effects of HAART and/or HIV chronicity silence expression of multiple proteins that in healthy subjects function to provide robust innate immune responses and combat cellular stress.
Both clinical experience and a growing medical literature indicate that there are persons who have been exposed to HIV infection who have remained uninfected. While in some instances this may represent good fortune, cohorts of uninfected persons have been reported where risks for infection are thought to be high. In these cohorts a variety of characteristics have been proposed as mediating protection but to date only the 32 base pair deletion in the CCR5 gene that results in complete failure of cell surface expression of this co-receptor has been associated with high level protection from HIV infection. With this in mind, there are likely numerous other factors that may individually or in combination provide some level of protection from acquisition of HIV infection. As some of these factors are likely incompletely protective or inconsistently active, identifying them with confidence will be difficult. Nonetheless, clarifying the determinants of protection against HIV infection is a high priority that will require careful selection of high risk uninfected cohorts to which targeted studies of plausible mediators and broad screening for unexpected determinants of protection should be applied.
HIV infection; Exposed Seronegatives; High Risk Seronegatives; Interferon; Restriction factors; CCR5
More than one million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) occur
each day. The immune responses and inflammation induced by STDs and other
frequent non-STD microbial colonizations (i.e. Candida and bacterial
vaginosis) can have serious pathologic consequences in women including
adverse pregnancy outcomes, infertility and increased susceptibility to
infection by other pathogens. Understanding the types of immune mediators
that are elicited in the lower genital tract by these
infections/colonizations can give important insights into the innate and
adaptive immune pathways that are activated and lead to strategies for
preventing pathologic effects.
32 immune mediators were measured by multiplexed immunoassays to assess the
immune environment of the lower genital tract mucosa in 84 women attending
an urban STD clinic. IL-3, IL-1ß, VEGF, angiogenin, IL-8,
ß2Defensin and ß3Defensin were detected in all subjects,
Interferon-α was detected in none, while the remaining mediators were
detected in 40% to 93% of subjects. Angiogenin, VEGF, FGF,
IL-9, IL-7, lymphotoxin-α and IL-3 had not been previously reported in
genital mucosal fluid from women. Strong correlations were observed between
levels of TNF-α, IL-1ß and IL-6, between chemokines IP-10 and MIG
and between myeloperoxidase, IL-8 and G-CSF. Samples from women with any
STD/colonization had significantly higher levels of IL-8, IL-3, IL-7,
IL-1ß, lactoferrin and myeloperoxidase. IL-1ß and lactoferrin
were significantly increased in gonorrhea, Chlamydia,
cervicitis, bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis.
These studies show that mucosal fluid in general appears to be an environment
that is rich in immune mediators. Importantly, IL-1ß and lactoferrin
are biomarkers for STDs/colonizations providing insights into immune
responses and pathogenesis at this mucosal site.
Neurodegeneration results from abnormalities in cerebral metabolism and energy balance within neurons, astrocytes, microglia, or microvascular endothelial cells of the blood-brain barrier. In Alzheimer's disease, β-amyloid is considered the primary contributor to neuropathology and neurodegeneration. It now is believed that certain systemic diseases, such as diabetes mellitus, can contribute to neurodegeneration through the effects of chronic hyperglycemia/insulin resistance resulting in protein glycation, oxidative stress and inflammation within susceptible brain regions. Here, we present an overview of research focusing on the role of protein glycation, oxidative stress, and inflammation in the neurodegenerative process. Of special interest in this paper is the effect of methylglyoxal (MGO), a cytotoxic byproduct of glucose metabolism, elevated in neurodegenerative disease, and diabetes mellitus, on cerebral protein function and oxidative stress. How MGO interacts with amino acid residues within β-amyloid, and small peptides within the brain, is also discussed in terms of the affect on protein function.
Tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) constitute a significant part of infiltrating inflammatory cells that are frequently correlated with progression and poor prognosis of a variety of cancers. Tumor cell-produced human β-defensin-3 (hBD-3) has been associated with TAM trafficking in oral cancer; however, its involvement in tumor-related inflammatory processes remains largely unknown.
The relationship between hBD-3, monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 (MCP-1), TAMs, and CCR2 was examined using immunofluorescence microscopy in normal and oral carcinoma in situ biopsy specimens. The ability of hBD-3 to chemoattract host macrophages in vivo using a nude mouse model and analysis of hBD-3 on monocytic cell migration in vitro, applying a cross-desensitization strategy of CCR2 and its pharmacological inhibitor (RS102895), respectively, was also carried out.
MCP-1, the most frequently expressed tumor cell-associated chemokine, was not produced by tumor cells nor correlated with the recruitment of macrophages in oral carcinoma in situ lesions. However, hBD-3 was associated with macrophage recruitment in these lesions and hBD-3-expressing tumorigenic cells induced massive tumor infiltration of host macrophages in nude mice. HBD-3 stimulated the expression of tumor-promoting cytokines, including interleukin-1α (IL-1α), IL-6, IL-8, CCL18, and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in macrophages derived from human peripheral blood monocytes. Monocytic cell migration in response to hBD-3 was inhibited by cross-desensitization with MCP-1 and the specific CCR2 inhibitor, RS102895, suggesting that CCR2 mediates monocyte/macrophage migration in response to hBD-3. Collectively, these results indicate that hBD-3 utilizes CCR2 to regulate monocyte/macrophage trafficking and may act as a tumor cell-produced chemoattractant to recruit TAMs. This novel mechanism is the first evidence of an hBD molecule orchestrating an in vivo outcome and demonstrates the importance of the innate immune system in the development of tumors.
Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are multi-functional peptides whose fundamental biological role in vivo has been proposed to be the elimination of pathogenic microorganisms, including Gram-positive and -negative bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Genes encoding these peptides are expressed in a variety of cells in the host, including circulating phagocytic cells and mucosal epithelial cells, demonstrating a wide range of utility in the innate immune system. Expression of these genes is tightly regulated; they are induced by pathogens and cytokines as part of the host defense response, and they can be suppressed by bacterial virulence factors and environmental factors which can lead to increased susceptibility to infection. New research has also cast light on alternative functionalities, including immunomodulatory activities, which are related to their unique structural characteristics. These peptides represent not only an important component of innate host defense against microbial colonization and a link between innate and adaptive immunity, but also form a foundation for the development of new therapeutic agents.
Defensin; magainin; innate immunity; membrane disruption
Human gingival epithelial cells (HGE) express two antimicrobial peptides of the β-defensin family, human β-defensin 1 (hBD-1) and hBD-2, as well as cytokines and chemokines that contribute to innate immunity. In the present study, the expression and transcriptional regulation of hBD-2 was examined. HBD-2 mRNA was induced by cell wall extract of Fusobacterium nucleatum, an oral commensal microorganism, but not by that of Porphyromonas gingivalis, a periodontal pathogen. HBD-2 mRNA was also induced by the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and phorbol myristate acetate (PMA), an epithelial cell activator. HBD-2 mRNA was also expressed in 14 of 15 noninflamed gingival tissue samples. HBD-2 peptide was detected by immunofluorescence in HGE stimulated with F. nucleatum cell wall, consistent with induction of the mRNA by this stimulant. Kinetic analysis indicates involvement of multiple distinct signaling pathways in the regulation of hBD-2 mRNA; TNF-α and F. nucleatum cell wall induced hBD-2 mRNA rapidly (2 to 4 h), while PMA stimulation was slower (∼10 h). In contrast, each stimulant induced interleukin 8 (IL-8) within 1 h. The role of TNF-α as an intermediary in F. nucleatum signaling was ruled out by addition of anti-TNF-α that did not inhibit hBD-2 induction. However, inhibitor studies show that F. nucleatum stimulation of hBD-2 mRNA requires both new gene transcription and new protein synthesis. Bacterial lipopolysaccharides isolated from Escherichia coli and F. nucleatum were poor stimulants of hBD-2, although they up-regulated IL-8 mRNA. Collectively, our findings show inducible expression of hBD-2 mRNA via multiple pathways in HGE in a pattern that is distinct from that of IL-8 expression. We suggest that different aspects of innate immune responses are differentially regulated and that commensal organisms have a role in stimulating mucosal epithelial cells in maintaining the barrier that contributes to homeostasis and host defense.
Human β-defensin-1 (hBD-1) is a member of the family of small cationic antimicrobial peptides that have been identified in several mucosal epithelia. Because human gingival epithelium is a site that is constantly challenged by oral microorganisms, we examined the expression of hBD-1 in human gingival epithelial and fibroblast cell cultures and tissue samples. Cell cultures were challenged with cell wall extracts of Porphyromonas gingivalis or Fusobacterium nucleatum, Escherichia coli lipopolysaccharide, tumor necrosis factor alpha, or phorbol myristate acetate. hBD-1 mRNA was detected in unstimulated and stimulated cultures by reverse transcription (RT)-PCR using several primer sets specific for hBD-1. Gingival epithelial cells, but not gingival fibroblasts, expressed a product of the predicted size for hBD-1 mRNA. The sequence of the PCR product was identical to that of hBD-1. hBD-1 mRNA expression was not significantly modulated by any of the stimulants tested. Human gingival tissues from noninflamed and inflamed sites were also analyzed by RT-PCR. hBD-1 mRNA was expressed in all tissue samples. The relative expression of hBD-1 mRNA was similar in noninflamed and inflamed tissues obtained from each of four patients undergoing treatment for periodontitis. However, the relative expression of hBD-1 mRNA varied in gingival biopsies obtained from 15 different normal individuals, and the relative hBD-1 expression was unrelated to interleukin-8 expression. Our findings show the constitutive expression of hBD-1 mRNA in cultured epithelial cells and gingival tissues but not gingival fibroblasts. These findings suggest that expression of hBD-1 may play a role as part of the innate host defenses in maintaining normal gingival health.