In a new study, researchers found that a natural antioxidant commonly found in green tea can help eliminate antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
They found that epigallocatechin (EGCG) can restore the activity of aztreonam, an antibiotic commonly used to treat infections caused by the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
The research was conducted by a team at the University of Surrey.
P.aeruginosa is linked to serious respiratory tract and bloodstream infections and in recent years has become resistant to many major classes of antibiotics.
Currently, a combination of antibiotics is used to fight P. aeruginosa.
However, these infections are becoming increasingly difficult to treat, as resistance to last-line antibiotics is being observed.
To assess the synergy of EGCG and aztreonam, the researchers conducted tests to analyze how they interacted with the P. aeruginosa, individually and in combination.
They found that the combination of aztreonam and EGCG was significantly more effective at reducing P. aeruginosa numbers than either agent alone.
This synergistic activity was also confirmed in vivo using Galleria mellonella (Greater Wax Moth larvae), with survival rates being significantly higher in those treated with the combination than those treated with EGCG or aztreonam alone.
Furthermore, minimal to no toxicity was observed in human skin cells and in Galleria mellonella larvae.
Researchers believe that in P. aeruginosa, EGCG may facilitate increased uptake of aztreonam by increasing permeability in the bacteria.
Another potential mechanism is EGCG’s interference with a biochemical pathway linked to antibiotic susceptibility.
The team says antibiotic resistance is a serious threat to global public health. Without effective antibiotics, the success of medical treatments will be compromised.
Natural products such as EGCG, used in combination with currently licensed antibiotics, maybe a way of improving their effectiveness and clinically useful lifespan.
The lead author of the study is Dr. Jonathan Betts, Senior Research Fellow.
The study is published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology.
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