Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), also called host defense peptides (HDPs), are part of the innate immune response found among all classes of life.
According to a study published online in the FASEB Journal, a salivary peptide called histatin 1 promotes angiogenesis (blood vessel formation), which is critical to the efficiency of wound healing.
“These findings open new alternatives to better understand the biology underlying the differences between oral and skin wound healing,” said Vicente A. Torres, associate professor at the faculty of dentistry, University of Chile.
“We believe that the study could help the design of better approaches to improve wound healing in tissues other than the mouth.”
The study involved experiments at three levels: blood vessel-forming cells in culture, chicken embryos as animal models and saliva samples obtained from donors.
Using these three models, histatin-1 and saliva were found to increase blood vessel formation.
Researchers are now taking the next step in the study using these molecules to generate materials and implants to aid in wound healing.
“The clear results of the present study open a wide door to a therapeutic advance. They also bring to mind the possible meaning of animals, and often children licking their wounds,” said Thoru Pederson, editor-in-chief of the FASEB Journal.