Thursday, March 15, 2018 by Zoey Sky
According to a study led by researchers from Georgia State University, the efficacy of antibiotics can be improved by combining them with carbon monoxide.
The results of the study determined that once both components are combined, bacteria become more sensitive to antibiotic medication.
For the study, scientists paired carbon monoxide with the antibiotic metronidazole. Results showed that carbon monoxide boosts the effectiveness of the antibiotic against a type of bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. This particular bacterium affects the stomach and causes peptic ulcers.
Dr. Binghe Wang, Regents’ Professor of Chemistry and director of the Center for Diagnostics & Therapeutics at Georgia State, explained that administering carbon monoxide with an antibiotic called metronidazole can “sensitize bacteria toward the same antibiotic by 25-fold.”
Dr. Wang commented that even though there is discourse concerning drug resistance, it doesn’t automatically mean that these bacteria don’t respond to antibiotics. In most cases, it just indicates decreased sensitivity. He concluded that “[i]f you can resensitize bacteria or sensitize them, then that would allow you to either use a smaller amount of antibiotic or use the same amount that would kill many, many more bacteria.”
Despite the fact that carbon monoxide is notorious for being toxic at high concentrations, it has potential as a medical gas. The human body naturally produces carbon monoxide and it is necessary for survival.
Carbon monoxide is also crucial when it comes to minimizing inflammation, boosting cell proliferation, and managing cellular immune response to pathogens. Research has proven that carbon monoxide also has antimicrobial effects. (Related: 6 Hidden Health Hazards in the Home.)
The researchers created a prodrug system for the study that releases three components, namely carbon monoxide, the antibiotic metronidazole, and a fluorescent molecule, that monitored the release of carbon monoxide.
A prodrug is the prototype of a drug that has to be subjected to a chemical conversion before it is turned into an active pharmacological agent. This prodrug system features a three-reaction sequence that becomes active when immersed in water, which sets the reaction in motion.
The researchers studied H. pylori bacteria in a culture dish, then compared the effect of the antibiotic metronidazole on the bacteria against the prodrug system that combined metronidazole and carbon monoxide.
Although carbon monoxide is a promising medical gas, exposure to the gas can still be bad for your health. Here are some tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
You can learn more about other findings on medicine and antibiotics at Scientific.news.