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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 48  |  Issue : 6  |  Page : 710-714

In vitro effectiveness of triterpenoids and their synergistic effect with antibiotics against Staphylococcus aureus strains

1 Department of Surgery, Rawalpindi Medical College, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
2 Department of Science, National Institute of Science and Technical Education, Islamabad, Pakistan

Correspondence Address:
Muhammad Hamza
Department of Surgery, Rawalpindi Medical College, Rawalpindi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0253-7613.194851

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Objectives: The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of four triterpenoids such as oleanolic acid, ursolic acid, cycloastragenol, and beta-boswellic acid alone and in combination with antibiotics against Staphylococcus aureus strains. Materials and Methods: Sixteen clinical strains of S. aureus from infected wounds were isolated. Eight were methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA), and the other eight were methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). The activity was also seen in reference S. aureus American Type Culture Collection strains. The activity of all the triterpenoids and antibiotics against S. aureus was evaluated by broth microdilution method. The effectiveness was judged by comparing the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of the compounds with antibiotics. The combination of antibiotics with compounds was evaluated by their fractional inhibitory concentrations (FIC). Results: Against both clinical and reference MSSA strains, none of the compounds exhibited comparable activity to antibiotics vancomycin or cefradine except for ursolic acid (MIC 7.8 μg/ml). Against MRSA, all compounds (MIC 16–128 μg/ml) showed lesser activity than vancomycin (MIC 5.8 μg/ml). Among triterpenoid-antibiotic combinations, the most effective were ursolic acid and vancomycin against clinical strain MSSA (FICS 0.17). However, overall, different combinations between triterpenoids and antibiotics showed 95%–46% (P < 0.05) reduction in MICs of antibiotics compared to when antibiotics were used alone. Cefradine, a drug not suitable for treating MRSA (MIC = 45 μg/ml), showed a remarkable decrease in its MIC (87% P< 0.01) when it was used in combination with oleanolic acid or ursolic acid in both clinical and reference strains. Conclusion: The tested triterpenoids are relatively weaker than antibiotics. However, when used in combination with antibiotics, they showed remarkable synergistic effect and thus can help in prolonging the viability of these antibiotics against S. aureus infections. Furthermore, reduction in MIC of cefradine with oleanolic acid indicates their potential use against MRSA.


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