β-Defensins are a family of small cationic peptides involved in the innate response to microbial infection. Although their role in microbial killing is well established, the mechanisms through which this occurs remain largely undefined. Here, using protein array technology, we describe a role for human β-defensins in the induction of an inflammatory cytokine response by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). Human β-defensins 1, 2, and 3 were examined for induction of an array of cytokines and chemokines. Some cytokines, such as interleuidn 8 (IL-8) and monocyte chemoattractant protein 1, were up-regulated by all three defensins, while others, such as IL-6 and IL-10, were induced more selectively. It was notable that each defensin induced a unique pattern of cytokines. This report documents, for the first time, an analysis of the composite cytokine response of human PBMCs to β-defensins. The induction or up-regulation of a number of cytokines involved in the adaptive immune response suggests a possible role for these defensins in linking innate and acquired immunity.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pharmacology (medical)