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FEBS Lett. 2003 May 22;543(1-3):184-9.

Plant polyphenols inhibit VacA, a toxin secreted by the gastric pathogen Helicobacter pylori.

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CNR Institute of Neurosciences, Biomembranes section, and Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Padova, Viale G. Colombo 3, 35121, Padua, Italy.


VacA is a major virulence factor of the widespread stomach-dwelling bacterium Helicobacter pylori. It causes cell vacuolation and tissue damage by forming anion-selective, urea-permeable channels in plasma and endosomal membranes. We report that several flavone derivatives and other polyphenols present in vegetables and plants inhibit ion and urea conduction and cell vacuolation by VacA. Red wine and green tea, which contain many of the compounds in question, also potently inhibit the toxin. These observations suggest that polyphenols or polyphenol derivatives may be useful in the prevention or cure of H. pylori-associated gastric diseases.

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