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Review
, 38 (2), 99-107

Recent Advances in Understanding the Antibacterial Properties of Flavonoids

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Review

Recent Advances in Understanding the Antibacterial Properties of Flavonoids

T P Tim Cushnie et al. Int J Antimicrob Agents.

Abstract

Antibiotic resistance is a major global problem and there is a pressing need to develop new therapeutic agents. Flavonoids are a family of plant-derived compounds with potentially exploitable activities, including direct antibacterial activity, synergism with antibiotics, and suppression of bacterial virulence. In this review, recent advances towards understanding these properties are described. Information is presented on the ten most potently antibacterial flavonoids as well as the five most synergistic flavonoid-antibiotic combinations tested in the last 6 years (identified from PubMed and ScienceDirect). Top of these respective lists are panduratin A, with minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of 0.06-2.0 μg/mL against Staphylococcus aureus, and epicatechin gallate, which reduces oxacillin MICs as much as 512-fold. Research seeking to improve such activity and understand structure-activity relationships is discussed. Proposed mechanisms of action are also discussed. In addition to direct and synergistic activities, flavonoids inhibit a number of bacterial virulence factors, including quorum-sensing signal receptors, enzymes and toxins. Evidence of these molecular effects at the cellular level include in vitro inhibition of biofilm formation, inhibition of bacterial attachment to host ligands, and neutralisation of toxicity towards cultured human cells. In vivo evidence of disruption of bacterial pathogenesis includes demonstrated efficacy against Helicobacter pylori infection and S. aureus α-toxin intoxication.

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