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This article has been peer reviewed and is published in Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials 2012, 11:1. The published version is available at DOI: 10.1186/1476-0711-11-1. ©BioMed Central Ltd.


ABSTRACT: Microbes living in the mammalian gut exist in constant contact with immunity system that prevents infection and maintains homeostasis. Enteric alpha defensins play an important role in regulation of bacterial colonization of the gut, as well as in activation of pro- and anti-inflammatory responses of the adaptive immune system cells in lamina propria. This review summarizes currently available data on functions of mammalian enteric alpha defensins in the immune defense and changes in their secretion in intestinal inflammatory diseases and cancer.