Hormone Plays Surprise Role in Fighting Skin Infections

Boosts immune response when vitamin D levels are low

Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are molecules produced in the skin to fend off infection-causing microbes. Vitamin D has been credited with a role in their production and in the body’s overall immune response, but scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine say a hormone previously associated only with maintaining calcium homeostasis and bone health is also critical, boosting AMP expression when dietary vitamin D levels are inadequate. … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom


Dr. Richard GalloThe report comes from Dr. Richard Gallo (pictured at left) and colleagues at UC San Diego, the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System, and UC San Francisco.

Richard L. Gallo, MD, PhD, is professor of medicine and chief of the UCSD Division of Dermatology and the Dermatology section of the Veterans Affairs San Diego Healthcare System.

The Department of Medicine coauthors of the study are first author Beda Muehleisen, Carlos Aguilera, and George L. Sen, Division of Dermatology, UC San Diego; Douglas W. Burton, Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System; and Leonard J. Deftos, MD, JD, LLM, Veterans Administration San Diego Healthcare System and Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, UC San Diego.

More information:

  • Read the article in Science Translational Medicine.
    Citation: B. Muehleisen, D. D. Bikle, C. Aguilera, D. W. Burton, G. L. Sen, L. J. Deftos, R. L. Gallo, PTH/PTHrP and Vitamin D Control Antimicrobial Peptide Expression and Susceptibility to Bacterial Skin Infection. Sci. Transl. Med. 4, 135ra66 (2012). DOI:10.1126/scitranslmed.3003759
  • Visit Dr. Gallo’s Laboratory Website