Expression of Antimicrobial Peptides in Cutaneous Infections after Skin Surgery

M.R. Kesting; M. Stoeckelhuber; F. Hölzle; T. Mücke; K. Neumann; K. Woermann; F. Jacobsen; L. Steinstraesser; K.-D. Wolff; D.J. Loeffelbein; N.H. Rohleder


The British Journal of Dermatology. 2010;163(1):121-127. 

In This Article


Expression Analysis

Transcription of DEFB1 (HBD-1), DEFB4A (HBD-2), DEFB103A (HBD-3) and S100A7 was measured in the epithelium of postoperatively infected wounds (DEFB1, n = 15; DEFB4A, DEFB103A and S100A7, n = 27) and in healthy control samples (n = 16). All of the tested genes were expressed in all samples. Comparative analysis of the amount of transcript showed no significant difference regarding the expression of DEFB1 (P = 0·607). In the same samples, gene expression was significantly elevated in the inflamed wound group in the cases of DEFB4A (40·0-fold change; P < 0·001), of DEFB103A (10·8-fold change; P = 0·001) and of S100A7 (17·1-fold change; P < 0·001). Expression data and results of the statistical analysis are detailed in Table 2 and are illustrated in Figure 3.

Figure 3.

Boxplot diagrams visualizing normalized expression data measured by real-time reverse transcriptase–polymerase chain reaction (gene amplicons per 18S rRNA amplicon). The lines within the boxes indicate the medians, the top edge of the boxes represents the 75th percentile and the bottom edge represents the 25th percentile. The range is shown as a vertical line, outlying values are indicated by circles, and extreme values are indicated by asterisks. The P-values were calculated by the Mann–Whitney U-test; a statistically significant difference between the groups (a) was evident for hBD-2 (DEFB4A), hBD-3 (DEFB103A) and psoriasin (S100A7) (upregulation in wound healing disorders), but not for hBD-1 (DEFB1). HE, healthy epithelium; WD, wound healing disorder.


Staining of hBD-1 did not differ between samples of healthy epithelium and wound infections and was homogeneously distributed in the epidermal layers of the SB, SS and SG with a weak-moderate staining intensity (Fig. 4). Staining of hBD-1 was lower in the SC in both groups. Staining of hBD-2 was weak in the SB and moderate in the SS, SG and SC in both healthy and wound samples. For hBD-3, a moderate, homogeneously distributed immunoreactivity was found in the SB, SS and SG, and weak immunoreactivity was seen in the SC for both groups. However, the staining intensities of hBD-2 and hBD-3 showed variability within samples of both groups. Therefore, in the case of hBD-2 and hBD-3, no conclusion concerning differences in protein level between the groups could be postulated. Stainings of psoriasin showed elevated immunoreactivity in the SS, SG and SC in wounds. In contrast to the other investigated AMPs, a strong staining of the peripheral cytoplasm of the keratinocytes and of the intercellular space was observed in the SS in wound samples.

Figure 4.

Immunohistochemical stainings of hBD-1, hBD-2, hBD-3 and psoriasin, in healthy epithelium (HE) and in wound healing disorders (WD). For hBD-1, no difference in protein level is evident between the groups. The stainings of hBD-2 and hBD-3 showed variability in HE and WD samples. Staining of psoriasin revealed pronounced protein levels throughout all epidermal layers (with the exception of the stratum basale) in infected wounds compared with healthy epithelium. Scale bar, 0·1 mm.


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