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Sci Rep. 2018 Dec 6;8(1):17696. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-35793-7.

Antimicrobial potential of endocannabinoid and endocannabinoid-like compounds against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

Author information

1
Biofilm Research Laboratory, Institute of Dental Sciences, Faculty of Dental Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.
2
The Institute for Drug Research, School of Pharmacy, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel.
3
Biofilm Research Laboratory, Institute of Dental Sciences, Faculty of Dental Medicine, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel. dorons@ekmd.huji.ac.il.

Abstract

Infections caused by antibiotic-resistant strains of Staphylococcus aureus have reached epidemic proportions globally. Staphylococcal biofilms are associated with increased antimicrobial resistance and are generally less affected by host immune factors. Therefore, there is an urgent need for novel agents that not only aim at multidrug-resistant pathogens, but also ones that will act as anti biofilms. In the present study, we investigated the antimicrobial activity of the endocannabinoid (EC) anandamide (AEA) and the endocannabinoid-like (EC-like), arachidonoyl serine (AraS) against methicillin resistant S. aureus strains (MRSA). We observed a strong inhibition of biofilm formation of all tested MRSA strains as well as a notable reduction of metabolic activity of pre-formed MRSA biofilms by both agents. Moreover, staphylococcal biofilm-associated virulence determinants such as hydrophobicity, cell aggregation and spreading ability were altered by AEA and AraS. In addition, the agents were able to modify bacterial membrane potential. Importantly, both compounds prevent biofilm formation by altering the surface of the cell without killing the bacteria. Therefore, we propose that EC and EC-like compounds may act as a natural line of defence against MRSA or other antibiotic resistant bacteria. Due to their anti biofilm action these agents could also be a promising alternative to antibiotic therapeutics against biofilm-associated MRSA infections.

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