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Salivary gland derived peptides as a new class of anti-inflammatory agents: review of preclinical pharmacology of C-terminal peptides of SMR1 protein

Ronald D Mathison1*, Joseph S Davison1, A Dean Befus2 and Daniel A Gingerich3

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, 3330 Hospital Drive NW, Calgary, Alberta, T2N 4N1, Canada

2 550A Heritage Medical Research Centre, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2S2, Canada

3 Turtle Creek Biostatistical Consulting, 2219 Wilmington Road, Lebanon, OH 45036, USA

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Journal of Inflammation 2010, 7:49  doi:10.1186/1476-9255-7-49

Published: 28 September 2010


The limitations of steroidal and non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have prompted investigation into other biologically based therapeutics, and identification of immune selective anti-inflammatory agents of salivary origin. The traditional view of salivary glands as accessory digestive structures is changing as their importance as sources of systemically active immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory factors is recognized. Salivary gland involvement in maintenance of whole body homeostasis is regulated by the nervous system and thus constitutes a "neuroendocrine axis". The potent anti-inflammatory activities, both in vivo and in vitro, of the tripeptide Phe-Glu-Gly (FEG) are reviewed. FEG is a carboxyl terminal peptide of the prohormone SMR1 identified in the rat submandibular salivary gland, The D-isomeric form (feG) mimics the activity of its L-isomer FEG. Macropharmacologically, feG attenuates the cardiovascular and inflammatory effects of endotoxemia and anaphylaxis, by inhibition of hypotension, leukocyte migration, vascular leak, and disruption of pulmonary function and intestinal motility. Mechanistically, feG affects activated inflammatory cells, especially neutrophils, by regulating integrins and inhibiting intracellular production of reactive oxygen species. Pharmacodynamically, feG is active at low doses (100 μg/kg) and has a long (9-12 hour) biological half life. As a therapeutic agent, feG shows promise in diseases characterized by over exuberant inflammatory responses such as systemic inflammatory response syndrome and other acute inflammatory diseases. Arthritis, sepsis, acute pancreatitis, asthma, acute respiratory inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease, and equine laminitis are potential targets for this promising therapeutic peptide. The term "Immune Selective Anti-Inflammatory Derivatives" (ImSAIDs) is proposed for salivary-derived peptides to distinguish this class of agents from corticosteroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.