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Biological and Antibacterial Activities of the Natural Herb Houttuynia cordata Water Extract against the Intracellular Bacterial Pathogen Salmonella within the RAW 264.7 Macrophage

Salmonellosis is a major bacterial zoonosis that causes a variety of disease syndromes, from self-limiting enteritis to fatal infection in animals and food-borne infection and typhoid fever in humans. Recently, the emer-gence of multidrug-resistant strains of Salmonella sp. has caused more serious problems in public health. The present study investigated the antibacterial effects of Houttuynia cordata water extract (HCWE) against murine salmonellosis. In RAW 264.7 cells, there was no detectable cytotoxic effect of HCWE at any concentration between 25 and 100 μg/ml after 8-h incubation. The antibacterial activity of HCWE was then examined in a Sal-monella enterica serovar (Salmonella typhimurium), and was found to increase in a dose-dependent manner at concentrations from 25 to 100 mm g/ml during 8-h incubation. HCWE also affected RAW 264.7 cells including mor-phologic change and bacterial uptake, but there was no significant difference in bacterial replication in RAW 264.7 cells. With HCWE alone, nitric oxide (NO) production by RAW 264.7 cells did not increase, but when RAW 264.7 cells were infected by S. typhimurium, with or without HCWE, NO production with HCWE was 2-fold higher than that without HCWE. Treatment with HCWE did not affect inducible NO synthase (iNOS) mRNA expression by RAW 264.7 cells, but when RAW 264.7 cells with HCWE were infected by S. typhimurium, iNOS mRNA expression was increased during 8-h incubation. Furthermore, HCWE showed virulence reduction effects in S. typhimurium-infected BALB/c mice. After a lethal dose of S. typhimurium, the mortality rate in the HCWE untreated group was 100% at 7 d, but the HCWE 25, 50, and 100 μg/ml groups survived until 11, 17, and 23 d, respectively. These data suggest that HCWE is stable and beneficial in the treatment of bacterial infection including intracellularly replicating pathogens and may solve antimicrobial misuse and overuse.