Antimicrobial peptide expression is developmentally regulated in the ovine gastrointestinal tract

Kenneth M. Huttner, Donna J. Brezinski-Caliguri, Megan M. Mahoney, Gill Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Antimicrobial peptides are abundant components of the innate immune system present in species throughout the plant and animal kingdoms. In mammals, these immune peptides have been localized to epithelial tissues of the pig, mouse, rat, cow and human gastrointestinal tracts. We have identified in sheep two members of the β-defensin antimicrobial peptide gene family that are expressed in a unique pattern throughout the gastrointestinal tract. Sheep β-defensin 1 mRNA is the most prevalent from tongue to colon with the exception of the distal ileum, where β-defensin 2 mRNA predominates. Sheep β-defensin expression varies significantly between animals and is developmentally regulated both pre- and postnatally. These changes in antimicrobial peptide expression may correlate with anatomical differentiation as well as physiologic adaptations to extra-uterine life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)297S-299S
JournalJournal of Nutrition
Issue number2 SUPPL.
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Defensin
  • Development
  • Fetus
  • Ovis aries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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