HB-107, a nonbacteriostatic fragment of the antimicrobial peptide cecropin B, accelerates murine wound repair

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Antimicrobial peptides are essential to innate host defense as effectors of pathogen clearance and can modify host cell behaviors to promote wound repair. While these two functions appear interrelated, it is unclear whether the ability to aid in wound repair requires inherent antimicrobial function. We hypothesized that the influence of antimicrobial peptides on wound repair is not dependent on antimicrobial function. To explore this, we analyzed the microbial killing activity of peptide fragments and correlated this with the ability to influence wound repair in mice. HB-107, a peptide lacking antimicrobial activity and originally derived from the antimicrobial cecropin B, showed up to 64 percent improvement in wound repair compared to scrambled peptide and vehicle controls, an effect comparable to treatment with recombinant human platelet-derived growth factor-BB (formulated as Regranex™). Wounds treated with HB-107 showed keratinocyte hyperplasia and increased leukocyte infiltration. Furthermore, HB-107 stimulated interleukin-8 secretion from cultured endothelial cells, an effect that may explain the increase in leukocyte migration. These findings confirm that antimicrobial peptides can function as effectors of cutaneous wound repair. Moreover, this study furthers our understanding of antimicrobial peptides by showing that their wound repair properties can be independent of antimicrobial function.

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