Urogenital tract infection caused by obligate intracellular bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis D (CtrD) is a leading cause of sexually transmitted diseases. Essential oil (EO) of Nigella sativa has a broad antimicrobial spectrum. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antimicrobial activity of the bioactive compounds (p-cymene, thymoquinone, carvacrol, and thymol) of N. sativa EO against CtrD. The cytotoxic effects of the compounds were determined by MTT assay. In order to quantify the anti-chlamydial activity of the compounds, HeLa cells were infected with CtrD or CtrD treated previously with the compounds. The titer of the infectious CtrD was determined by indirect immunofluorescence assay. The minimum inhibitory concentrations of the compounds were evaluated by direct quantitative PCR. None of the compounds showed a cytotoxic effect on HeLa cells in the concentrations tested. According to the immunofluorescence assay, all of the compounds significantly inhibited the growth of CtrD. The quantitative PCR revealed that the minimum concentration that exerted anti-chlamydial activity was 3.12 µM in the case of thymoquinone and p-cymene, while that of carvacrol and thymol was 6.25 µM. Therefore, it can be concluded that bioactive compounds of N. sativa EO could be used as effective antimicrobial agents against CtrD.
Keywords: Chlamydia trachomatis; Nigella sativa; antibacterial activity.