Zoological Research ›› 2019, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (6): 488-505.doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2019.062

Special Issue: Toxin & peptide

• Review • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Antimicrobial peptides: new hope in the war against multidrug resistance

James Mwangi1,2,3,Xue Hao1,Ren Lai1,3,4,5,6,Zhi-Ye Zhang1()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Bioactive Peptides of Yunnan Province/Key Laboratory of Animal Models and Human Disease Mechanisms of Chinese Academy of Sciences and Yunnan Province, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Yunnan 650223, China
    2. Kunming College of Life Science, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Yunnan 650204, China
    3. Sino-African Joint Research Center, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Yunnan 650223, China
    4. Institutes for Drug Discovery and Development, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, China
    5. KIZ-CUHK Joint Laboratory of Bioresources and Molecular Research in Common Diseases, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Yunnan 650223, China
    6. Center for Biosafety Mega-Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan Hubei 430071, China
  • Received:2019-07-23 Accepted:2019-09-26 Online:2019-11-18 Published:2019-10-14
  • Contact: Zhi-Ye Zhang E-mail:zhangzhiye@mail.kiz.ac.cn
  • Supported by:
    the National Natural Science Foundation of China(21761142002 and 31801975);Chinese Academy of Sciences(XDB31000000);Yunnan Province Grant(2015HA023)


The discovery of antibiotics marked a golden age in the revolution of human medicine. However, decades later, bacterial infections remain a global healthcare threat, and a return to the pre-antibiotic era seems inevitable if stringent measures are not adopted to curb the rapid emergence and spread of multidrug resistance and the indiscriminate use of antibiotics. In hospital settings, multidrug resistant (MDR) pathogens, including carbapenem-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBL) bearing Acinetobacter baumannii, Escherichia coli, and Klebsiella pneumoniae are amongst the most problematic due to the paucity of treatment options, increased hospital stay, and exorbitant medical costs. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) provide an excellent potential strategy for combating these threats. Compared to empirical antibiotics, they show low tendency to select for resistance, rapid killing action, broad-spectrum activity, and extraordinary clinical efficacy against several MDR strains. Therefore, this review highlights multidrug resistance among nosocomial bacterial pathogens and its implications and reiterates the importance of AMPs as next-generation antibiotics for combating MDR superbugs.

Key words: Multidrug resistance, Nosocomial infections, Antimicrobial peptide, Antibiotic alternatives