Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

New perspectives for natural antimicrobial peptides: application as antinflammatory drugs in a murine model

Rosanna Capparelli1*, Francesco De Chiara1, Nunzia Nocerino1, Rosa Chiara Montella1, Marco Iannaccone1, Andrea Fulgione1, Alessandra Romanelli2, Concetta Avitabile2, Giuseppe Blaiotta3 and Federico Capuano4

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Biotechnology, University of Naples “Federico II”, Naples, 80134, Italy

2 Department of Biological Sciences, University of Naples “Federico II”, Naples, 80134, Italy

3 Department of Food Science, University of Naples “Federico II”, Portici, 80055, Italy

4 Department of Food Inspection IZS ME, via Salute 2, Portici, 80055, Italy

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BMC Immunology 2012, 13:61  doi:10.1186/1471-2172-13-61

Published: 17 November 2012



Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are an ancient group of defense molecules. AMPs are widely distributed in nature (being present in mammals, birds, amphibians, insects, plants, and microorganisms). They display bactericidal as well as immunomodulatory properties. The aim of this study was to investigate the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities of a combination of two AMPs (temporin B and the royal jellein I) against Staphylococcus epidermidis.


The temporin B (TB-KK) and the royal jelleins I, II, III chemically modified at the C terminal (RJI-C, RJII-C, RJIII-C), were tested for their activity against 10 different Staphylococcus epidermidis strains, alone and in combination. Of the three royal jelleins, RJI-C showed the highest activity. Moreover, the combination of RJI-C and TB-KK (MIX) displayed synergistic activity. In vitro, the MIX displayed low hemolytic activity, no NO2- production and the ability to curb the synthesis of the pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IFN-γ to the same extent as acetylsalicylic acid. In vivo, the MIX sterilized mice infected with Staphylococcus epidermidis in eleven days and inhibited the expression of genes encoding the prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthase 2 (COX-2) and CD64, two important parameters of inflammation.


The study shows that the MIX – a combination of two naturally occurring peptides - displays both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities.