Authors:Samuel Füchtbauer, Soraya Mousavi, Stefan Bereswill, and Markus M. Heimesaat
Antibiotic resistance is endangering public health globally and gives reason for constant fear of virtually intractable bacterial infections. Given a limitation of novel antibiotic classes brought to market in perspective, it is indispensable to explore novel, antibiotics-independent ways to fight bacterial infections. In consequence, the antibacterial properties of natural compounds have gained increasing attention in pharmacological sciences. We here performed a literature survey regarding the antibacterial effects of capsaicin and its derivatives constituting natural compounds of chili peppers. The studies included revealed that the compounds under investigation exerted i.) both direct and indirect antibacterial properties in vitro depending on the applied concentrations and the bacterial strains under investigation; ii.) synergistic antibacterial effects in combination with defined antibiotics; iii.) resistance-modification via inhibition of bacterial efflux pumps; iv.) attenuation of bacterial virulence factor expression; and v.) dampening of pathogen-induced immunopathological responses. In conclusion, capsaicin and its derivatives comprise promising antimicrobial molecules which could complement or replace antibiotic treatment strategies to fight bacterial infections. However, a solid basis for subsequent clinical trials requires future investigations to explore the underlying molecular mechanisms and in particular pharmaceutical evaluations in animal infection models.