Prevention and treatment of MRSA and polymicrobial wound infections using a topical Qurom Sensing inhibitor

N.H. Oberlies, P.R. Hall
University of North Carolina at Greensboro, North Carolina, United States

Keywords: methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, MRSA, fungal metabolite, wound healing

Wounded soldiers, who may be immunosuppressed following trauma, are susceptible to infection by organisms introduced during injury or treatment. This is especially true for organisms that are common colonizers of humans such as Staphylococcus aureus, including difficult to treat methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA). MRSA is one of the most common organisms isolated from combat personnel, and one of the most frequently identified bacteria in wounds of U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. We have discovered a fungal metabolite, omega-hydroxyemodin (OHM), that shows promise in treating MRSA. Prevention or reduction of the number and severity of MRSA infections associated with combat wounds would reduce morbidity to wounded soldiers, promote faster recovery time, and reduce health care costs associated with treatment of such infections. Also, by inhibiting MRSA's production of factors that disrupt host defense, OHM may support innate immunity against wound co-infection with other important antibiotic resistant pathogens. Additionally, the use of OHM as an adjunct to antibiotics, including the ‘last resort’ antibiotics often needed to eradicate polymicrobial wound infections, could extend the utility of, and reduce the concentrations needed (and thus the associated toxicity), of existing antibiotics.