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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Propolis can potentialise the anti-adhesion activity of proanthocyanidins on uropathogenic Escherichia coli in the prevention of recurrent urinary tract infections

Jean-Philippe Lavigne12*, Xavier Vitrac3, Louis Bernard4, Franck Bruyère5 and Albert Sotto1

Author Affiliations

1 Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, U1047, Université Montpellier 1, UFR de Médecine, Chemin du Carreau de Lanes, Nîmes, France

2 Department of Bacteriology, Caremeau University Hospital, Nîmes, France

3 Polyphénols Biotech, University Bordeaux Segalen, ISVV, EA 3675, Villenave d'Ornon, France

4 Department of Infectious Diseases, University Hospital, and University François Rabelais, Loire Valley, Tours, France

5 Department of Urology, University Hospital, and University François Rabelais, Loire Valley, Tours, France

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BMC Research Notes 2011, 4:522  doi:10.1186/1756-0500-4-522

Published: 29 November 2011

Abstract

Background

Escherichia coli, the main bacteria found in recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI), is now frequently resistant to several currently used antibiotic treatments making new solutions essential. In this study, we evaluated the association propolis and proanthocyanidins type A to reduce bacterial anti-adhesion activity of E. coli on urothelial cells.

Results

This first double-blind, randomized, cross-over human trial included 5 volunteers that followed 6 different regimens with or without variable doses of cranberry and propolis with a washout period of at least 1 week between each regimen. Urine samples were collected at 0 h, 4-6 h, 12 h and 24 h after cranberry plus propolis or placebo capsule consumption. In vivo urinary bacterial anti-adhesion activity was assessed with a bioassay (a human T24 epithelial cell-line assay) and an in vivo Caenorhabditis elegans model. HPLC-PDA-MS was used to detect propolis and cranberry compounds in urine. Bioassays indicated significant bacterial anti-adhesion activity in urine collected from volunteers who had consumed cranberry plus propolis powder compared to placebo (p < 0.001). This inhibition was clearly dose-dependent, increasing with the amount of PACs and propolis equivalents consumed in each regimen. Results suggested that propolis had an additional effect with PACs and prevent a bacterial anti-adhesion effect over 1 day. An in vivo model showed that the E. coli strain presented a reduced ability to kill C. elegans after their growth in urine samples of patients who took cranberry plus propolis capsules. HPLC confirmed that propolis is excreted in urine.

Conclusions

This study presents an alternative to prevent recurrent UTI. Administration of PACs plus propolis once daily offers some protection against bacterial adhesion, bacterial multiplication and virulence in the urinary tract, representing an interesting new strategy to prevent recurrent UTI.