More and more common antibiotics are losing their effectiveness because they are used too often, allowing bacteria to develop resistance to the drugs. A University of Rhode Island researcher has found a solution to this problem with a natural compound that boosts antibiotic strength from 100 to 1,000 times. While conducting research on infection prevention, URI Microbiology Professor Paul Cohen stumbled upon a compound -- lysophosphatidic acid -- that is naturally produced in the human body in great quantities wherever there is inflammation.
According to Cohen, bacteria are divided into two groups -- Gram-positive and Gram-negative -- based on the structure of their cell walls. When lysophosphatidic acid is administered in small amounts (80 micromolars), it sensitizes the Gram-negative bacteria 100 to 1,000 times so only small quantities of antibiotics are needed to kill the bacteria. When administered to fight Gram-positive bacteria, the compound kills the bacteria without needing any antibiotics.
"In combination with this compound, even older antibiotics become much more powerful," Cohen said. "It not only makes older antibiotics useful again, but it also allows them to be used in reduced dosages."
Todd McLeish | EurekAlert!
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