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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2004 Jun;53(6):1054-61. Epub 2004 Apr 29.

Synthetic furanones inhibit quorum-sensing and enhance bacterial clearance in Pseudomonas aeruginosa lung infection in mice.

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Department of Clinical Microbiology, University Hospital of Copenhagen (Rigshospitalet), Juliane Marie Vej 22, Copenhagen Ø, DK-2100.



Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial infections by killing the bacteria or inhibiting their growth, but resistance to antibiotics can develop readily. The discovery that bacterial quorum-sensing regulates bacterial virulence as well as the formation of biofilms opens up new ways to control certain bacterial infections. Furanone compounds capable of inhibiting bacterial quorum-sensing systems have been isolated from the marine macro alga Delisea pulchra.


Two synthetic furanones were tested for their ability to attenuate bacterial virulence in the mouse models of chronic lung infection by targeting bacterial quorum-sensing without directly killing bacteria or inhibiting their growth.


Study I. Mice with Escherichia coli MT102 [luxR-PluxI-gfp(ASV)] lung infection were injected intravenously with N-acyl homoserine lactones with or without furanones to test the interference of furanones with quorum-sensing. Study II. Mice with lung infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 [dsred, lasR-PlasB-gfp(ASV)] were injected intravenously with furanones to evaluate their inhibiting effects on quorum-sensing. Study III. Mice with P. aeruginosa PAO1 lung infection were treated with different doses of furanones to evaluate the therapeutic effects of furanones on the lung infection.


Furanones successfully interfered with N-acyl homoserine lactone and suppressed bacterial quorum-sensing in lungs, which resulted in decreases in expression of green fluorescent protein. Furanones accelerated lung bacterial clearance, and reduced the severity of lung pathology. In a lethal P. aeruginosa lung infection, treatment with furanone significantly prolonged the survival time of the mice.


Synthetic furanone compounds inhibited bacterial quorum-sensing in P. aeruginosa and exhibited favourable therapeutic effects on P. aeruginosa lung infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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