A complex and finely tuned system of regulation and function of intestinal antimicrobial peptides probably contributes to the maintenance and balance of commensal flora in the healthy gut. Disruption of this critical balance could lead to gastrointestinal infection and disease.
Inflammatory bowel disease
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic inflammation of the intestine. On the basis of its clinical features and histopathology, it is often grouped into two major entities, Crohn´s disease (CD) and ulcerative colitis (UC). In both forms of IBD, intestinal commensal microbiota is thought to trigger the disease in genetically susceptible individuals. A disturbed antimicrobial defense seems to be a critical factor in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases.
Although the inflammation seen in patients with UC is typically restricted to the colon, that of CD occurs at many sites, most commonly in the small intestinal ileum and in the colon. Probiotic bacteria were the first therapeutic agents for IBD that are known to bolster the production of antimicrobial peptides.