Plants as sources of new antimicrobials and resistance-modifying agents
Covering: up to November 2011
Infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria are an increasing problem due to the emergence and propagation of microbial drug resistance and the lack of development of new antimicrobials. Traditional methods of antibiotic discovery have failed to keep pace with the evolution of resistance. Therefore, new strategies to control bacterial infections are highly desirable. Plant secondary metabolites (phytochemicals) have already demonstrated their potential as antibacterials when used alone and as synergists or potentiators of other antibacterial agents. The use of phytochemical products and plant extracts as resistance-modifying agents (RMAs) represents an increasingly active research topic. Phytochemicals frequently act through different mechanisms than conventional antibiotics and could, therefore be of use in the treatment of resistant bacteria. The therapeutic utility of these products, however, remains to be clinically proven. The aim of this article is to review the advances in in vitro and in vivo studies on the potential chemotherapeutic value of phytochemical products and plant extracts as RMAs to restore the efficacy of antibiotics against resistant pathogenic bacteria. The mode of action of RMAs on the potentiation of antibiotics is also described.