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The World in Medicine
December 12, 2001

Sweat Defense

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JAMA. 2001;286(22):2801. doi:10.1001/jama.286.22.2801

Antiperspirant aficionados take note: sweat may be good for one's health. Researchers in Germany have discovered that human sweat contains a novel antimicrobial peptide that might constitute one of the first lines of defense against invading microbes.

Researchers from Eberhard-Karls-University Tübingen and University of Tübingen, in Germany, discovered a gene (which they named Dermicidin) that encodes an antimicrobial peptide with a broad spectrum of activity against pathogenic bacteria and fungi. The encoded protein, which is dissimilar to other known antimicrobial peptides, is produced in the sweat glands and secreted into sweat. After being processed into a smaller peptide—in the sweat gland or possibly in the sweat itself—the peptide is transported to the skin surface.

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