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Short antimicrobial peptides as cosmetic ingredients to deter dermatological pathogens. Review

: Rahnamaeian, M.; Vilcinskas, A.


Applied microbiology and biotechnology 99 (2015), No.21, pp.8847-8855
ISSN: 0171-1741
ISSN: 0175-7598
ISSN: 1432-0614
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are components of the innate immune system in many species of animals. Their diverse spectrum of activity against microbial pathogens, both as innate defense molecules and immunomodulators, makes them attractive candidates for the development of a new generation of antibiotics. Although the potential immunogenicity of AMPs means they are not suitable for injection and their susceptibility to digestive peptidases is likely to reduce their oral efficacy, they are ideal for topical formulations such as lotions, creams, shampoos, and wound dressings and could therefore be valuable products for the cosmetic industry. In this context, short AMPs (< 20 amino acids) lacking disulfide bonds combine optimal antimicrobial activity with inexpensive chemical synthesis and are therefore more compatible with large-scale production and the modifications required to ensure stability, low toxicity, and microbial specificity. Proof-of-concept for the application of AMPs as novel anti-infectives has already been provided in clinical trials. This perspective considers the anti-infective properties of short AMPs lacking disulfide bonds, which are active against dermatologically important microflora. We consider the challenges that need to be addressed to facilitate the prophylactic application of AMPs in personal care products.