Nan Zhao1, Lejia Wang1, Ian Edwin Cock1,2,*
1School of Environment and Science, Nathan Campus, Griffith University, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA.
2Centre for Planetary Health and Food Security, Nathan Campus, Griffith University, Brisbane, AUSTRALIA.
Introduction: An increase in antibiotic resistance and a corresponding decrease in antimicrobial discovery have directed researchers towards alternative therapies, including plant based medicines. However, synergistic combinations of plant extracts with conventional antibiotics may be a far more effective approach in overcoming resistance and potentiating the activity of antibiotics that are otherwise ineffective against resistant bacterial strains. Methods: The antibacterial activity of Arctium lappa L. root extracts was investigated by disc diffusion and quantified by liquid dilution and solid phase MIC assays. The extracts were also combined with a range of conventional antibiotics and tested against various microbial triggers of autoimmune diseases. The ΣFIC values obtained from these assays were used to determine the class of combinational effects. Toxicity was evaluated by Artemia nauplii mortality and HDF cytotoxicity assays. Results: Methanolic and ethyl acetate A. lappa root extracts showed good inhibitory activity against several microbial triggers of autoimmune inflammatory diseases, including P. mirabilis, P. vulgaris and A. baylyi. The aqueous extract was also a noteworthy inhibitor of A. baylyi growth. Of further interest, some combinations of the A. lappa root extracts and conventional antibiotics potentiated bacterial growth inhibition compared to the individual components alone. One synergistic and six additive interactions were noted. Notably, no antagonistic interactions were evident, indicating that all combinations could be used without decreasing the antibacterial activity of the components. All extracts were nontoxic in the ALA and HDF assays. Conclusion: Arctium lappa L. root extracts have potential as inhibitors of bacterial triggers of selected autoimmune inflammatory diseases. Furthermore, extract components may also potentiate the activity of three antibiotics that are relatively ineffective alone. Isolation and identification of these compounds may be beneficial in drug design against several bacteria, including the microbial triggers of rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Key words: Synergy, Conventional antimicrobials, Interaction, Medicinal plants, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis, Multiple sclerosis, Drug combinations.