To establish a novel strategy for the control of fungal infection, we examined the antifungal and neutrophil-activating activities of antimicrobial peptides. The duration of survival of 50% of mice injected with a lethal dose of Candida albicans (5 x 10(8) cells) or Aspergillus fumigatus (1 x 10(8) cells) was prolonged 3 to 5 days by the injection of 10 microg of peptide 2 (a lactoferrin peptide) and 10 microg of alpha-defensin 1 for five consecutive days and was prolonged 5 to 13 days by the injection of 0.1 microg of granulocyte-monocyte colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and 0.5 microg of amphotericin B. When mice received a combined injection of peptide 2 (10 microg/day) with amphotericin B (0.5 microg/day) for 5 days after the lethal fungal inoculation, their survival was greatly prolonged and some mice continued to live for more than 5 weeks, although the effective doses of peptide 2 for 50 and 100% suppression of Candida or Aspergillus colony formation were about one-third and one-half those of amphotericin B, respectively. In vitro, peptide 2 as well as GM-CSF increased the Candida and Aspergillus killing activities of neutrophils, but peptides such as alpha-defensin 1, beta-defensin 2, and histatin 5 did not upregulate the killing activity. GM-CSF together with peptide 2 but not other peptides enhanced the production of superoxide (O2-) by neutrophils. The upregulation by peptide 2 was confirmed by the activation of the O2- -generating pathway, i.e., activation of large-molecule guanine binding protein, phosphatidyl-inositol 3-kinase, protein kinase C, and p47phox as well as p67phox. In conclusion, different from natural antimicrobial peptides, peptide 2 has a potent neutrophil-activating effect which could be advantageous for its clinical use in combination with antifungal drugs
Okamoto T, Tanida T, Wei B, Ueta E, Yamamoto T, Osaki T. Regulation of fungal infection by a combination of amphotericin B and peptide 2, a lactoferrin peptide that activates neutrophils. Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2004 November Department of Oral Oncology, Kochi Medical School, Kohasu, Oko-cho, Nankoku-city, Kochi 783-8505, Japan.