Anti-Acne Action of Peptides Isolated from Burdock Root-Preliminary Studies and Pilot Testing

Molecules. 2020 Apr 27;25(9):2027. doi: 10.3390/molecules25092027.


This work aimed to study the anti-bacterial, anti-biofilm and anti-oxidant potential effects of low molecular weight (LMW) peptides (Br-p) isolated from burdock (Arctium lappa L.) roots. We conducted a preliminary study to exclude or confirm the antibiotic activity of the LMW peptides fraction of this plant. Br-p were isolated using gel filtration and a 10 kDa cut-off membrane. The obtained peptides were identified by MALDI TOF/TOF. Antibacterial activity was tested against acne strains using diffusion tests, MIC and MBC. The fibroblast cytotoxicity of Br-p was tested, and the selectivity index (SI) value was determined. The fraction of 46 Br-p peptides isolated from burdock root with a molecular weight below 5000 Da and theoretic pI (isoelectric point) of 3.67-11.83 showed a narrow spectrum of activity against Gram-positive acne bacterial strains. One of the Br-p peptides assessed on MALDI RapidDeNovo was LRCDYGRFFASKSLYDPLKKRR cationic peptide. It was analogous to that contained in A. lappa protein, and theoretically it was matched as a peptide with antibiotic nature. Br-p did not show toxicity to fibroblasts in the tested concentration up to 10 mg/mL, obtaining CC50 10 mg/mL. The SI value for the tested Propionibacterium strains ranged from 160 to 320. Finally, an active dressing based on chitosan/alginate/genipin was prepared using freeze-drying. The formed dressing was evaluated for its anti-acne activity. To sum up: preliminary biological studies confirmed the anti-acne properties of the isolated peptide fraction from burdock root and pointed to the possibility of using it to create an active dressing on the skin.

Keywords: Antibacterial peptides; Arctium lappa L.; acne skin; polysaccharide dressing.

MeSH terms

  • Acne Vulgaris / drug therapy*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / analysis
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Arctium / chemistry*
  • Biofilms / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Escherichia coli / drug effects
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Free Radicals
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Peptides / analysis
  • Peptides / isolation & purification
  • Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Peptides / toxicity
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry*
  • Propionibacterium acnes / drug effects
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus aureus / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / drug effects
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Free Radicals
  • Peptides
  • Plant Extracts