Events at the host-microbial interface of the gastrointestinal tract. V. Paneth cell α-defensins in intestinal host defense

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Host defense of the small intestine is mediated, in part, by antimicrobial peptides, including α-defensins. In the small intestine, Paneth cells, specialized secretory epithelial cells located at the base of the crypt invaginations lining the intestinal wall, produce α-defensins. The α-defensins are cysteine-rich cadonic peptides with antibiotic activity against a wide range of bacteria and other microbes. Studies of transgenic and knockout mice have supported a pivotal role of Paneth cell α-defensins in protection from bacterial pathogens. New data suggest that deficient expression of Paneth cell α-defensins may contribute to the pathophysiology of Crohn's disease, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number2 52-2
StatePublished - Aug 2005



  • Antimicrobial peptide
  • Crohn's disease
  • Innate immunity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology

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