Acridine-a neglected antibacterial chromophore

J Antimicrob Chemother. 2001 Jan;47(1):1-13. doi: 10.1093/jac/47.1.1.


The use of acridines as antimicrobial agents was first proposed by Ehrlich and Benda in 1912, and the first clinical use of these agents occurred in 1917. Many compounds containing the acridine chromophore were synthesized and tested, and the aminoacridines found wide use, both as antibacterial agents and as antimalarials, during World War II. The emergence of the penicillins eclipsed the acridines in antisepsis due to the greater therapeutic efficacies of the former. However, with the current massive increases in drug-resistant bacterial infection, new acridine derivatives may be of use. In addition, the topical utilization of aminoacridines in conjunction with directed low-power light offers bactericidal action at much lower doses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aminoacridines / chemical synthesis
  • Aminoacridines / chemistry
  • Aminoacridines / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Forecasting
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Aminoacridines
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents