Nature Publishing Group
School of Medical and Health Sciences
Clostridium difficile infection is a toxin-mediated disease of the colon. C. difficile virulence is primarily attributed to the production of toxin A and toxin B; thus this study was aimed to investigate the effect of a range of natural products on the production and activity of C. difficile toxins in vitro. Twenty-two natural products were investigated against four C. difficile strains. The activity of products against toxins was determined using Vero and HT-29 cells cytotoxicity and neutral red uptake assays. The indirect effect of products on toxin-mediated cytotoxicity was determined using the same cell lines. The effect of seven products on toxin production by C. difficile was determined using ELISA. Zingerone (0.3 mg/ml) protected both cell lines from C. difficile cytopathic effects, confirmed by the neutral red uptake assay (P < 0.05). Three Leptospermum honeys (4% w/v), fresh onion bulb extract (12.5% v/v) and trans-cinnamaldehyde (0.005% v/v) all reduced toxin production and activity significantly (P ≤ 0.023). Garlic clove powder (4.7 mg/ml) only reduced toxin activity (P ≤ 0.047). Overall, several natural products had activity against C. difficile toxins in vitro encouraging further investigation against C. difficile toxins in vivo.
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