Apigenin protects mice from pneumococcal pneumonia by inhibiting the cytolytic activity of pneumolysin.
Fitoterapia. 2016 Sep 28 ;115:31-36. Epub 2016 Aug 28. PMID: 27693741
Streptococcus pneumoniae is an important human pathogenic bacterium that can cause various life-threatening infections. Pneumolysin (PLY), the pore-forming toxin that forms large pores in the cell membrane, is a key virulence factor secreted by S. pneumoniae that penetrates the physical defenses of the host and plays an important role in the pathogenesis of pneumococcal diseases, such as pneumonia, meningitis, bacteremia and otitis media. This study showed that apigenin, one of the bioflavonoids widely found in herbs, inhibits PLY-induced hemolysis by inhibiting the oligomerization of PLY and has no anti-S. pneumoniae activity. In addition, when PLY was incubated with human alveolar epithelial (A549) cells, apigenin could effectively alleviate PLY-mediated cell injury. In vivo studies further demonstrated that apigenin could protect mice against S. pneumoniae pneumonia. These results imply that apigenin could directly interact with PLY to decrease the pathogenicity of S. pneumoniae and that novel therapeutics against S. pneumoniae PLY might provide greater effectiveness in combatting S. pneumoniae pneumonia.