New compound to strike H. pylori

Ellagic acid can kill almost all clinical strains of H. pylori, and also aids in the healing of the damaged gastric tissue in mice models, says Ronita De (right).

Ellagic acid can kill almost all clinical strains of H. pylori, and also aids in the healing of the damaged gastric tissue in mice models, says Ronita De (right).  

Ellagic acid, a good antioxidant, can boost immunity

With the World health Organisation listing H. pylori among the 16 antibiotic-resistant bacteria that pose the greatest menace to human health, there has been a growing concern about the bacteria and finding new treatments for the infection.

Now, researchers from National Institute of Cholera and Enteric Diseases (ICMR-NICED), West Bengal have assessed a compound (ellagic acid) against H. pylori and found that it can kill almost all clinical strains of this bacterium. Ellagic acid was also found to aid in the healing of the damaged gastric tissue in mice model.

“Treatment for H. pylori infection has not significantly changed over the last decade. The efficacy of the conventional antibiotic therapy is not always satisfactory and now H. pylori isolates have gained high-level resistance to antibiotics, including metronidazole, clarithromycin, and tetracycline signifying a serious dilemma,” says Dr. Asish K. Mukhopadhyay from NICED and corresponding author of the paper published in Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. “There is a strong need to explore new non-antimicrobial agents that are cost-effective, safe and applicable to all H. pylori infection.”


As much of the world’s population still depend on plant-derived medicines for the health care, the researchers examined ellagic acid, a major polyphenolic component of fruits, vegetables and nuts which has been previously reported to have antibacterial properties. The antimicrobial property was tested against 55 different H. pylori isolates collected from gastric biopsies of patients. who suffered different gastric ailments. Most of the strains were resistant to clarithromycin, metronidazole or amoxicillin. About 5-30 mg/L of ellagic acid was tested on these drug-resistant strains and about 74% of the bacteria were killed at 15 mg/L. Electron microscopy studies showed that the morphology of the bacteria changed when treated with ellagic acid.

“The H.pylori bacteria are normally motile and spiral in shape but after treatment the bacteria shifted to non-motile spherical or coccoid form. We think that ellagic acid is possibly killing the bacteria by apoptosis. More studies are needed to fully understand the pathways of the compound,” says Ronita De, Post-Doctoral fellow and the first author of the paper.

Mice model studies also showed that ellagic acid given each day at 10 mg/kg of body weight for seven days not only killed the bacteria but also almost completely restored the gastric epithelial damage induced by the organism.

“Ellagic acid is a good antioxidant and can boost immunity of the body. Also H. pylori induced oxidative stress is neutralised. It can prove to be an inexpensive, diet-based treatment supplement,” adds Avijit Sarkar, Post-Doctoral Fellow and one of the authors of the work. If further study proves successful, clinicians may even recommend it as a natural supplement that can aid in the treatment of the infection and tissue repair

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Printable version | Jun 3, 2020 1:01:48 PM |

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