Humans have lost their vitamin C-synthesizing capacities during evolution. Therefore, the uptake of this essential compound from external sources is mandatory in order to prevent vitamin C-deficient conditions resulting in severe morbidities such as scurvy. The potent antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and antiinfectious effects of vitamin C are known since the 1930s. We here (i) review the impact of vitamin C on innate and adaptive immune functions, (ii) provide an overview of its antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic, and antifungal properties, and finally, (iii) discuss vitamin C as an adjunct treatment option for the combat of human infections by bacteria, particularly by emerging multidrug-resistant species.
The use of antibiotics has provoked an emergence of various multidrug-resistant (MDR) bacteria. Infectious diseases that cannot be treated sufficiently with conventional antibiotic intervention strategies anymore constitue serious threats to human health. Therefore, current research focus has shifted to alternative, antibiotic-independent therapeutic approaches. In this context, vitamin E constitutes a promising candidate molecule due to its multi-faceted modes of action. Therefore, we used the PubMed database to perform a comprehensive literature survey reviewing studies addressing the antimicrobial properties of vitamin E against bacterial pathogens including MDR bacteria. The included studies published between 2010 and 2020 revealed that given its potent synergistic antimicrobial effects in combination with distinct antibiotic compounds, vitamin E constitutes a promising adjunct antibiotic treatment option directed against infectious diseases caused by MDR bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Burkholderia cenocepacia and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). In conclusion, the therapeutic value of vitamin E for the treatment of bacterial infections should therefore be investigated in future clinical studies.
The physiological colonization resistance exerted by the murine gut microbiota prevents conventional mice from Campylobacter jejuni infection. In the present study we addressed whether this also held true for Campylobacter coli. Following peroral application, C. coli as opposed to C. jejuni could stably establish within the gastrointestinal tract of conventionally colonized mice until 3 weeks post-challenge. Neither before nor after either Campylobacter application any changes in the gut microbiota composition could be observed. C. coli, but not C. jejuni challenge was associated with pronounced regenerative, but not apoptotic responses in colonic epithelia. At day 21 following C. coli versus C. jejuni application mice exhibited higher numbers of adaptive immune cells including T-lymphocytes and regulatory T-cells in the colonic mucosa and lamina propria that were accompanied by higher large intestinal interferon-γ (IFN-γ) concentrations in the former versus the latter but comparable to naive levels. Campylobacter application resulted in decreased splenic IFN-γ, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), and IL-6 concentrations, whereas IL-12p70 secretion was increased in the spleens at day 21 following C. coli application only. In either Campylobacter cohort decreased IL-10 concentrations could be measured in splenic and serum samples. In conclusion, the commensal gut microbiota prevents mice from C. jejuni, but not C. coli infection.
Infections with multi-drug resistant (MDR) bacteria including carbapenem-resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae are emerging worldwide but are difficult to treat with the currently available antibiotic compounds and therefore constitute serious threats to human health. This prompted us to perform a literature survey applying the MEDLINE database and Cochrane Register of Controlled Trials including clinical trials comparing different treatment regimens for infections caused by carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae. Our survey revealed that a combined application of antibiotic compounds such as meropenem plus vaborbactam, meropenem plus colistin and carbapenem plus carbapenem, resulted in significantly increased clinical cure and decreased mortality rates as compared to respective control treatment. However, further research on novel antibiotic compounds, but also on antibiotic-independent molecules providing synergistic or at least resistance-modifying properties needs to be undertaken in vitro as well as in large clinical trials to provide future options in the combat of emerging life-threatening infections caused by MDR bacteria.
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.
Gut microbiota depletion is a pivotal prerequisite to warrant Campylobacter jejuni infection and induced inflammation in IL-10-/- mice used as acute campylobacteriosis model. We here assessed the impact of an 8-week antibiotic regimen of ampicillin, ciprofloxacin, imipenem, metronidazole, and vancomycin (ABx) as compared to ampicillin plus sulbactam (A/S) on gut microbiota depletion and immunopathological responses upon oral C. jejuni infection. Our obtained results revealed that both antibiotic regimens were comparably effective in depleting the murine gut microbiota facilitating similar pathogenic colonization alongside the gastrointestinal tract following oral infection. Irrespective of the preceding microbiota depletion regimen, mice were similarly compromised by acute C. jejuni induced enterocolitis as indicated by comparable clinical scores and macroscopic as well as microscopic sequelae such as colonic histopathology and apoptosis on day 6 post-infection. Furthermore, innate and adaptive immune cell responses in the large intestines were similar in both infected cohorts, which also held true for intestinal, extra-intestinal and even systemic secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α, IFN-γ, and IL-6. In conclusion, gut microbiota depletion in IL-10-/- mice by ampicillin plus sulbactam is sufficient to investigate both, C. jejuni infection and the immunopathological features of acute campylobacteriosis.
Non-antibiotic feed additives including competitive exclusion products have been shown effective in reducing pathogen loads including multi-drug resistant strains from the vertebrate gut. In the present study we surveyed the intestinal bacterial colonization properties, potential macroscopic and microscopic inflammatory sequelae and immune responses upon peroral application of the commercial competitive exclusion product Aviguard® to wildtype mice in which the gut microbiota had been depleted by antibiotic pre-treatment. Until four weeks following Aviguard® challenge, bacterial strains abundant in the probiotic suspension stably established within the murine intestines. Aviguard® application did neither induce any clinical signs nor gross macroscopic intestinal inflammatory sequelae, which also held true when assessing apoptotic and proliferative cell responses in colonic epithelia until day 28 post-challenge. Whereas numbers of colonic innate immune cell subsets such as macrophages and monocytes remained unaffected, peroral Aviguard® application to microbiota depleted mice was accompanied by decreases in colonic mucosal counts of adaptive immune cells such as T and B lymphocytes. In conclusion, peroral Aviguard® application results i.) in effective intestinal colonization within microbiota depleted mice, ii.) neither in macroscopic nor in microscopic inflammatory sequelae and iii.) in lower colonic mucosal T and B cell responses.