Lack of cathelicidin processing in Papillon-Lefèvre syndrome patients reveals essential role of LL-37 in periodontal homeostasis.

Eick, Sigrun; Puklo, Magdalena; Adamowicz, Karina; Kantyka, Tomasz; Hiemstra, Pieter; Stennicke, Henning; Guentsch, Arndt; Schacher, Beate; Eickholz, Peter; Potempa, Jan (2014). Lack of cathelicidin processing in Papillon-Lefèvre syndrome patients reveals essential role of LL-37 in periodontal homeostasis. Orphanet journal of rare diseases, 9, p. 148. BioMed Central 10.1186/s13023-014-0148-y

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BACKGROUND Loss-of-function point mutations in the cathepsin C gene are the underlying genetic event in patients with Papillon-Lefèvre syndrome (PLS). PLS neutrophils lack serine protease activity essential for cathelicidin LL-37 generation from hCAP18 precursor. AIM We hypothesized that a local deficiency of LL-37 in the infected periodontium is mainly responsible for one of the clinical hallmark of PLS: severe periodontitis already in early childhood. METHODS To confirm this effect, we compared the level of neutrophil-derived enzymes and antimicrobial peptides in gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) and saliva from PLS, aggressive and chronic periodontitis patients. RESULTS Although neutrophil numbers in GCF were present at the same level in all periodontitis groups, LL-37 was totally absent in GCF from PLS patients despite the large amounts of its precursor, hCAP18. The absence of LL-37 in PLS patients coincided with the deficiency of both cathepsin C and protease 3 activities. The presence of other neutrophilic anti-microbial peptides in GCF from PLS patients, such as alpha-defensins, were comparable to that found in chronic periodontitis. In PLS microbial analysis revealed a high prevalence of Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans infection. Most strains were susceptible to killing by LL-37. CONCLUSIONS Collectively, these findings imply that the lack of protease 3 activation by dysfunctional cathepsin C in PLS patients leads to the deficit of antimicrobial and immunomodulatory functions of LL-37 in the gingiva, allowing for infection with A. actinomycetemcomitans and the development of severe periodontal disease.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > School of Dental Medicine > Department of Periodontology

UniBE Contributor:

Eick, Sigrun


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




BioMed Central




Eveline Carmen Schuler

Date Deposited:

13 Jan 2015 17:15

Last Modified:

25 Jan 2017 12:15

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Papillon-Lefèvre syndrome, Periodontitis, Cathepsin C, Proteinase 3, Cathelicidin LL-37




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