Anti-Helicobacter pylori potential of artemisinin and its derivatives

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Sep;56(9):4594-607. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00407-12. Epub 2012 Jun 11.


The antimalarial drug artemisinin from Artemisia annua demonstrated remarkably strong activity against Helicobacter pylori, the pathogen responsible for peptic ulcer diseases. In an effort to develop a novel antimicrobial chemotherapeutic agent containing such a sesquiterpene lactone endoperoxide, a series of analogues (2 natural and 15 semisynthetic molecules), including eight newly synthesized compounds, were investigated against clinical and standard strains of H. pylori. The antimicrobial spectrum against 10 H. pylori strains and a few other bacterial and fungal strains indicated specificity against the ulcer causing organism. Of five promising molecules, a newly synthesized ether derivative β-artecyclopropylmether was found to be the most potent compound, which exhibited MIC range, MIC(90), and minimum bactericidal concentration range values of 0.25 to 1.0 μg/ml, 1.0 μg/ml, and 1 to 16 μg/ml, respectively, against both resistant and sensitive strains of H. pylori. The molecule demonstrated strong bactericidal kinetics with extensive morphological degeneration, retained functional efficacy at stomach acidic pH unlike clarithromycin, did not elicit drug resistance unlike metronidazole, and imparted sensitivity to resistant strains. It is not cytotoxic and exhibits in vivo potentiality to reduce the H. pylori burden in a chronic infection model. Thus, β-artecyclopropylmether could be a lead candidate for anti-H. pylori therapeutics. Since the recurrence of gastroduodenal ulcers is believed to be mainly due to antibiotic resistance of the commensal organism H. pylori, development of a candidate drug from this finding is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amoxicillin / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemical synthesis
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antimalarials / chemical synthesis
  • Antimalarials / isolation & purification
  • Antimalarials / pharmacology*
  • Artemisia annua / chemistry*
  • Artemisinins / chemical synthesis
  • Artemisinins / isolation & purification
  • Artemisinins / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Clarithromycin / pharmacology
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple, Bacterial / drug effects
  • Female
  • Helicobacter Infections / drug therapy*
  • Helicobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Helicobacter pylori / drug effects*
  • Helicobacter pylori / growth & development
  • Humans
  • Metronidazole / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Plant Components, Aerial / chemistry


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antimalarials
  • Artemisinins
  • beta-artecyclopropylmether
  • Metronidazole
  • Amoxicillin
  • artemisinin
  • Clarithromycin