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FEMS Microbiol Lett. 2011 May;318(1):68-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.2011.02239.x. Epub 2011 Mar 1.

Steroid hormones as bactericidal agents to Helicobacter pylori.

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Department of Infection and Immunity, Division of Bacteriology, Jichi Medical University, Tochigi, Japan.


Helicobacter pylori is a unique bacterial species that assimilates various steroids as membrane lipid components. Our group has recently found, however, that certain steroids may impair the viability of H. pylori. In this study, we go on to reveal that estradiol, androstenedione, and progesterone (PS) all have the potential to inhibit the growth of H. pylori. Of these three steroid hormones, progesterone demonstrated the most effective anti-H. pylori action. 17α-hydroxyprogesterone caproate (17αPSCE), a synthetic progesterone derivative, had a much stronger anti-H. pylori action than progesterone, whereas 17α-hydroxyprogesterone, a natural progesterone derivative, completely failed to inhibit the growth of the organism. Progesterone and 17αPSCE were both found to kill H. pylori through their bacteriolytic action. Among five bacterial species investigated, H. pylori was the only species susceptible to the bactericidal action of progesterone and 17αPSCE. The other four species, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and Staphylococcus epiderimidis, all resisted this action. Progesterone and free-cholesterol (FC) obstructed each other's effects against the H. pylori cell. Taken in sum, these results suggest that progesterone and FC may bind to the identical region on the H. pylori cell surface. We expect these findings to contribute to the development of a novel anti-H. pylori steroidal agent.

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