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Esther Bullitt, Associate Professor of Physiology & Biophysics, and colleagues at the Boston University School of Dental Medicine and Washington University have published research showing that a component in saliva, Histatin-5, reduces binding of bacteria that cause Traveler’s Diarrhea.
This is the first report of saliva acting against bacteria destined for the gut, demonstrating an innate response to enteric pathogens.
It has long been known that bacteria must bind to epithelial cells in the gut to initiate infection: No adhesion, No disease.
With this new research, there is hope that Histatin-5-based therapeutics may provide a way to reduce bacterial binding, and thereby reduce diarrheal disease.
A Role for Salivary Peptides in the Innate Defense Against Enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli
By Jeffrey W Brown, Arwa Badahdah, Micah Iticovici, Tim J Vickers, David M Alvarado, Eva J Helmerhorst,Frank G Oppenheim, Jason C Mills, Matthew A Ciorba, James M Fleckenstein,
Is published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, and can be accessed at