Purpose: Cranberry proanthocyanidins have been identified as possible inhibitors of Escherichia coli adherence to uroepithelial cells. However, little is known about the dose range of this effect. Furthermore, it has not been studied directly in the urogenital system. To address these issues we tested the effect of a cranberry powder and proanthocyanidin extract on adherence of a P-fimbriated uropathogenic E. coli isolate to 2 new urogenital model systems, namely primary cultured bladder epithelial cells and vaginal epithelial cells.
Materials and methods: E. coli IA2 was pre-incubated with a commercially available cranberry powder (9 mg proanthocyanidin per gm) or with increasing concentrations of proanthocyanidin extract. Adherence of E. coli IA2 to primary cultured bladder epithelial cells or vaginal epithelial cells was measured before and after exposure to these products.
Results: Cranberry powder decreased mean adherence of E. coli IA2 to vaginal epithelial cells from 18.6 to 1.8 bacteria per cell (p <0.001). Mean adherence of E. coli to primary cultured bladder epithelial cells was decreased by exposure to 50 mug/ml proanthocyanidin extract from 6.9 to 1.6 bacteria per cell (p <0.001). Inhibition of adherence of E. coli by proanthocyanidin extract occurred in linear, dose dependent fashion over a proanthocyanidin concentration range of 75 to 5 mug/ml.
Conclusions: Cranberry products can inhibit E. coli adherence to biologically relevant model systems of primary cultured bladder and vaginal epithelial cells. This effect occurs in a dose dependent relationship. These findings provide further mechanistic evidence and biological plausibility for the role of cranberry products for preventing urinary tract infection.