Role of 4-hydroxybutyrate in increased resistance to surgical site infections associated with surgical meshes

Catalina Pineda Molina, George S. Hussey, Alvin Liu, Jonas Eriksson, William A. D'Angelo, Stephen F. Badylak*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


An increased resistance to surgical site infections has been associated with surgical meshes composed of naturally occurring materials, including poly-4-hydroxybutrate (4HB). 4HB is a naturally occurring short-chain fatty acid that has been shown to promote endogenous expression of the Cramp gene coding for the antimicrobial peptide (AMP) cathelicidin LL-37 in murine bone marrow-derived macrophages. The molecular pathways involved in the 4HB-induced cathelicidin LL-37 expression have not yet been identified. The present study showed that transcriptional activation of the Cramp gene by 4HB is independent of inhibition of histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity, and that upregulation of Cramp is modulated by the G-protein coupled receptor GPR109A. Furthermore, an intracellular signaling cascade that promotes the activation of the MAP kinases, p38 and JNK, and a subsequent NF-κB phosphorylation downstream from p38 is essential for the AMP transcriptional response in 4HB-stimulated macrophages. The findings provide a solid scientific basis and rationale for the decreased incidence of surgical site infections with the use of this type of surgical meshes. Further clinical significance is found in the fact that the 4HB activated molecular pathway includes common targets of frequently used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and other FDA approved drugs recognizing G-protein coupled receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120493
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • 4-Hydroxybutyrate
  • Cathelicidin LL-37
  • Histone deacetylase inhibition
  • MAP kinases
  • NF-κB


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