PloS one

Carvacrol codrugs: a new approach in the antimicrobial plan.

PMID 25859852


The increasing prevalence of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections led to identify alternative strategies for a novel therapeutic approach. In this study, we synthesized ten carvacrol codrugs - obtained linking the carvacrol hydroxyl group to the carboxyl moiety of sulphur-containing amino acids via an ester bond - to develop novel compounds with improved antimicrobial and antibiofilm activities and reduced toxicity respect to carvacrol alone. All carvacrol codrugs were screened against a representative panel of Gram positive (S. aureus and S. epidermidis), Gram negative (E. coli and P. aeruginosa) bacterial strains and C. albicans, using broth microdilution assays. Results showed that carvacrol codrug 4 possesses the most notable enhancement in the anti-bacterial activity displaying MIC and MBC values equal to 2.5 mg/mL for all bacterial strains, except for P. aeruginosa ATCC 9027 (MIC and MBC values equal to 5 mg/mL and 10 mg/mL, respectively). All carvacrol codrugs 1-10 revealed good antifungal activity against C. albicans ATCC 10231. The cytotoxicity assay showed that the novel carvacrol codrugs did not produce human blood hemolysis at their MIC values except for codrugs 8 and 9. In particular, deepened experiments performed on carvacrol codrug 4 showed an interesting antimicrobial effect on the mature biofilm produced by E. coli ATCC 8739, respect to the carvacrol alone. The antimicrobial effects of carvacrol codrug 4 were also analyzed by TEM evidencing morphological modifications in S. aureus, E. coli, and C. albicans. The current study presents an insight into the use of codrug strategy for developing carvacrol derivatives with antibacterial and antibiofilm potentials, and reduced cytotoxicity.