Antimicrobial peptides and periodontal disease

Sven-Ulrik Gorr, Mahsa Abdolhosseini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

140 Scopus citations


Aims: The goal of this review is to identify the antimicrobial proteins in the oral fluids, saliva and gingival crevicular fluid and identify functional families and candidates for antibacterial treatment. Results: Periodontal biofilms initiate a cascade of inflammatory and immune processes that lead to the destruction of gingival tissues and ultimately alveolar bone loss and tooth loss. Treatment of periodontal disease with conventional antibiotics does not appear to be effective in the absence of mechanical debridement. An alternative treatment may be found in antimicrobial peptides and proteins, which can be bactericidal and anti-inflammatory and block the inflammatory effects of bacterial toxins. The peptides have co-evolved with oral bacteria, which have not developed significant peptide resistance. Over 45 antibacterial proteins are found in human saliva and gingival crevicular fluid. The proteins and peptides belong to several different functional families and offer broad protection from invading microbes. Several antimicrobial peptides and proteins (AMPs) serve as templates for the development of therapeutic peptides and peptide mimetics, although to date none have demonstrated efficacy in human trials. Conclusions: Existing and newly identified AMPs may be developed for therapeutic use in periodontal disease or can serve as templates for peptide and peptide mimetics with improved therapeutic indices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)126-141
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of clinical periodontology
Issue numberSUPPL. 11
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • Antibacterial
  • Antibiotics
  • Antimicrobial peptides
  • Cathelicidin
  • Defensin
  • Lipopolysaccharide
  • Peptide mimetics


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