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Novel Strategies in the Prevention and Treatment of Urinary Tract Infections.

ABSTRACT

Urinary tract infections are one of the most common bacterial infections, especially in women and children, frequently treated with antibiotics. The alarming increase in antibiotic resistance is a global threat to future treatment of infections. Therefore, alternative strategies are urgently needed. The innate immune system plays a fundamental role in protecting the urinary tract from infections. Antimicrobial peptides form an important part of the innate immunity. They are produced by epithelial cells and neutrophils and defend the urinary tract against invading bacteria. Since efficient resistance mechanisms have not evolved among bacterial pathogens, much effort has been put into exploring the role of antimicrobial peptides and possibilities to utilize them in clinical practice. Here, we describe the impact of antimicrobial peptides in the urinary tract and ways to enhance the production by hormones like vitamin D and estrogen. We also discuss the potential of medicinal herbs to be used in the prophylaxis and the treatment of urinary tract infections.