Study: Hormone plays role in fighting skin infections

May 30, 2012

A new study shows that a hormone that is associated with maintaining bone health may also help to boost antimicrobial peptide (AMP) expression when dietary vitamin D levels are low.

San Diego - A new study shows that a hormone that is associated with maintaining bone health may also help to boost antimicrobial peptide (AMP) expression when dietary vitamin D levels are low.

Researchers with University of California, San Diego School of Medicine discovered that parathyroid hormone (PTH), which previously was associated only with maintaining bone health and calcium levels, ramps up AMP expression when vitamin D levels are too low, Medical News Today reports. The new research may offer clinicians a new way of looking at how the immune system functions and could offer new paths for treating infections.

The study involved using a mouse model and cultured human cells, and found elevated levels of PTH when dietary vitamin D levels were low, which in turn helped to express more AMPs, which fight off a wide variety of bacteria, fungi and viruses.

The discovery of PTH’s immunological role may allow researchers to eventually create an antibiotic treatment that eliminates the risk of antibiotic resistance in targeted microbes, Medical News Today reports.

The study was published in Science Translational Medicine.

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