Variation in the attachment of Streptococcus pneumoniae to human pharyngeal epithelial cells after treatment with S-carboxymethylcysteine

J Infect Chemother. 2008 Aug;14(4):333-6. doi: 10.1007/s10156-008-0626-z. Epub 2008 Aug 17.


S-carboxymethylcysteine (S-CMC) is a mucolytic agent that can prevent respiratory infection by decreasing the attachment of respiratory pathogens to human pharyngeal epithelial cells (HPECs). Streptococcus pneumoniae is a major cause of respiratory infections. A previous study revealed that treatment of S. pneumoniae with S-CMC caused a decrease in the attachment of this bacterium to HPECs. In the present study we found that the effect of S-CMC varied according to hosts and strains. S-CMC treatment altered the surface structure of S. pneumoniae, resulting in a decrease of attachment, without affecting the virulence of the bacteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacterial Adhesion / drug effects*
  • Carbocysteine / pharmacology*
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects*
  • Epithelial Cells / microbiology
  • Expectorants / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Pharynx / cytology
  • Pharynx / drug effects
  • Respiratory Tract Infections / prevention & control
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae / drug effects*


  • Expectorants
  • Carbocysteine