IMR Press / FBL / Volume 26 / Issue 11 / DOI: 10.52586/5029
Open Access Mini-Review
The potentials of short fragments of human anti-microbial peptide LL-37 as a novel therapeutic modality for diseases
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1 Laboratory of Cancer ImmunoMetabolism, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute at Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702, USA
2 Basic Research Program, Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc., Frederick, MD 21702, USA
3 College of Life Sciences, Beijing Jiaotong University, 100044 Beijing, China
4 Department of Pathology and Experimental Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Okayama University, 700-8558 Okayama, Japan
*Correspondence: (Keqiang Chen); (Ji Ming Wang)
Front. Biosci. (Landmark Ed) 2021, 26(11), 1362–1372;
Submitted: 27 August 2021 | Revised: 13 November 2021 | Accepted: 16 November 2021 | Published: 30 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Understanding the Potential Applications of Anti-Microbial Peptides)
Copyright: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by BRI.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license (

Human cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide LL-37 (LL-37) is an antimicrobial peptide derived from its precursor protein hCAP18, which is an only cathelicidin in human. LL-37 not only serves as a mediator of innate immune defense against invading microorganisms, but it also plays an essential role in tissue homeostasis, regenerative processes, regulation of proinflammatory responses, and inhibition of cancer progression. Therefore, LL-37 has been considered as a drug lead for diseases. However, high levels of LL-37 may reduce cell viability and promote apoptosis of osteoblasts, vascular smooth muscle cells, periodontal ligament cells, neutrophils, airway epithelial cells and T cells. Recent evidence reveals that LL-37-derived short peptides possess similar biological activities as the whole LL-37 with reduced cytotoxicity. Thus, such small molecules constitute a pool of potential therapeutic agents for diseases.

Short peptides
Fig. 1.
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