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Cranberry sauce: good for what ails you
Date:11/13/2007

body (a necessary first step in infections) in several ways:

  • The chemical changes caused by cranberry juice create an energy barrier that keeps the bacteria from getting close to the urinary tract lining.

  • Direct measurements show that the adhesive forces between E. coli and cells of the urinary tract are greatly reduced when at least a 5 percent solution of cranberry juice cocktail is present.

  • Cranberry juice causes tiny tendrils (known as fimbriae) on the surface of the type of E. coli bacteria responsible for the most serious types of UTIs to become compressed, reducing the bacterias ability to latch onto the lining of the urinary tract.

  • E. coli grown in cranberry juice or the isolated PACs are unable to form biofilms. Biofilms, clusters containing high concentrations of bacteria, are required for infections to develop. Biofilms are the source of infections associated with indwelling catheters and other biomedical devices.

  • When E. coli are cultured over extended periods in solutions containing various concentrations of either cranberry juice or PACs, their cell membranes undergo changes that hinder the bacterias ability to attach to cells of the urinary tract.

Camesano and her team have also noticed that cranberry juice inhibits the ability of E. coli to produce IAA, a molecule involved in a phenomenon known as quorum sensing. Bacteria produce IAA to let other bacteria know they are there. Quorum sensing enables bacteria to sense that their population is large enough to initiate an infection, or to form a biofilm. Keeping bacteria from producing IAA may be another way that cranberry compounds can hinder their ability to cause serious infections.

Some of Camesanos current work is aimed at assessing the minimum effective dose of cranberry juice (or tannins) and the optimum frequency to ward off infections. In addition, she is working to te
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Contact: Michael Dorsey
mwdorsey@wpi.edu
508-831-5609
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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