β-Defensins are cationic peptides with broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity that are produced by epithelia at mucosal surfaces. Two human β- defensins, HBD-1 and HBD-2, were discovered in 1995 and 1997, respectively. However, little is known about the expression of HBD-1 or HBD-2 in tissues of the oral cavity and whether these proteins are secreted. In this study, we characterized the expression of HBD-1 and HBD-2 mRNAs within the major salivary glands, tongue, gingiva, and buccal mucosa and detected β-defensin peptides in salivary secretions. Defensin mRNA expression was quantitated by RNase protection assays. HBD-1 mRNA expression was detected in the gingiva, parotid gland, buccal mucosa, and tongue. Expression of HBD-2 mRNA was detected only in the gingival mucosa and was most abundant in tissues with associated inflammation. To test whether β-defensin expression was inducible, gingival keratinocyte cell cultures were treated with interleukin- 1β (IL-1β) or bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) for 24 h. HBD-2 expression increased ~16-fold with IL-1β treatment and ~5-fold in the presence of LPS. Western immunoblotting, liquid chromatography, and mass spectrometry were used to identify the HBD-1 and HBD-2 peptides in human saliva. Human β- defensins are expressed in oral tissues, and the proteins are secreted in saliva; HBD-1 expression was constitutive, while HBD-2 expression was induced by IL-1β and LPS. Human β-defensins may play an important role in the innate defenses against oral microorganisms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases