Plant Proanthocyanidins Bind to and Neutralize Bacterial Lipopolysaccharides
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC
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Proanthocyanidins PACs are naturally occurring polymers derived from higher plants and they have recently been associated with several potential positive health benefits such as antibacterial, chemotherapeutic, and anti-atherosclerotic activities. Here we report on the binding of PACs from cranberries, tea, and grapes to lipopolysaccharide LPS, a major component of the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. LPS is the cause of several human illnesses, including sepsis and toxic shock syndrome. We show that in the case of cranberries, the majority of the LPS-binding activity is contained within a PAC fraction composed of polymers with an average degree of polymerization of 21. This PAC fraction modestly inhibits the binding of LPS to the surface of mammalian cells expressing the full complement of LPS receptors while it significantly abrogates the cellular internalization of LPS. Our results demonstrate PACs to be a new class of LPS-binding compound with potential utility in the removal of LPS from potable water sources and pharmaceutical preparations.