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World J Gastroenterol. May 14, 2013; 19(18): 2731-2735
Published online May 14, 2013. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i18.2731
Cathelicidin a potential therapeutic peptide for gastrointestinal inflammation and cancer
Jimmy Yip Chuen Chow, Zhi Jie Li, William Ka Kei, Chi Hin Cho
Jimmy Yip Chuen Chow, Department of Medicine, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037, United States
Zhi Jie Li, Western Australia Institute for Medicine Research, the University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
William Ka Kei, Institute of Digestive Diseases, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Chi Hin Cho, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Author contributions: The authors contributed independently to the content and preparation of the article.
Correspondence to: Chi Hin Cho, Professor, School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Lo Kwee Seong Integrated Biomedical Sciences Building, Shatin, Hong Kong, China.
Telephone: +852-39436886   Fax: +852-26035139
Received: February 22, 2013
Revised: March 19, 2013
Accepted: April 3, 2013
Published online: May 14, 2013

Cathelicidins, are host defense peptides synthesized and stored in circulating leukocytes and numerous types of epithelial tissues in particular the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and skin. They have been known for their antimicrobial activities against a variety of microbes. Recently it was discovered that they have other significant biological functions and produce appealing pharmacological actions against inflammation and cancer in the GI tract through defined mechanisms. Experimental evidence shows that these actions could be tissue and disease specific and concentration dependent. This article reviews some of the physiological functions of cathelicidins and also their therapeutic potential in the treatment of inflammation and cancer and also the delivery system for this peptide as targeted therapy for various disorders in the GI tract both in animals and humans.

Keywords: Cathelicidin, Gastrointestinal tract, Cancer, Inflammation, Ulcer repair

Core tip: Cathelicidin is one of the most important host defense peptides known today. It carries multiple and yet unique biological functions against pathogens which contribute to the induction and also progression of infection, inflammation and cancer, the three major types of diseases in mankind. Deficiency of such peptide would cause multiple dysfunctions in the body. In this review we highlight the physiological role and therapeutic potential of cathelicidin in inflammation and cancer and also mucosal repair in the gut. All these information would shed new lights on the development of cathelicidin as therapeutic agent for different disorders in the gastrointestinal tract.