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Y. Yoshimasu, T. Ikeda, N. Sakai, A. Yagi, S. Hirayama, Y. Morinaga, S. Furukawa, R. Nakao
First Published March 1, 2018 Research Article
Propolis, a resinous substance produced by bees, is used as a folk medicine for treatment of periodontal diseases. However, its mode of the action and the compounds responsible for its activities remain obscure. In the present study, we comprehensively investigated the antibacterial activities of ethanol-extracted propolis (EEP) and EEP-derived compounds toward Porphyromonas gingivalis, a keystone pathogen for periodontal diseases. Broth microdilution and agar dilution assays were used to determine the minimum inhibitory concentrations of EEP against a range of oral bacterial species, of which P. gingivalis showed a higher level of sensitivity than oral commensals such as streptococci. Its antibacterial activity toward P. gingivalis was maintained even after extensive heat treatment, demonstrating a high level of thermostability. EEP also induced death of P. gingivalis cells by increasing membrane permeability within 30 min. Spatiotemporal analysis based on high-speed atomic force microscopy revealed that EEP immediately triggered development of aberrant membrane blebs, followed by bleb fusion events on the bacterial surface.
Furthermore, we isolated artepillin C, baccharin, and ursolic acid from EEP as antibacterial compounds against P. gingivalis. Of those, artepillin C and baccharin showed bacteriostatic activities with membrane blebbing, while ursolic acid showed bactericidal activity with membrane rupture. In particular, ursolic acid demonstrated a greater ability to affect bacterial membrane potential with increased membrane permeability, probably because of its highly lipophilic nature as compared with other compounds. Taken together, these findings provide mechanistic insight into the antibacterial activities of EEP and its exquisite membrane-targeting antibacterial compounds and imply the applicability of narrow-spectrum therapeutics with EEP for treatment of periodontitis. In addition, the advanced technology utilized in the present study to visualize the nanometer-scale dynamics of microorganisms will contribute to expanding our understanding of the activities of antimicrobials and the mechanism of drug resistance in bacteria.
* THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY THE FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION. THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASE.