A drug used in treating ischemic strokes was found to be effective in killing the bugs that cause ulcers and tuberculosis (TB). Ischemic stroke occurs when an artery to the brain is blocked.
The study from Karolinska Institutet in Sweden says a compound called ebselen effectively inhibits the thioredoxin reductase system in a wide variety of bugs, including H. pylori, which causes gastric ulcers, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which causes TB.
Thioredoxin and thioredoxin reductase proteins help bugs make new DNA, and protect them against oxidative stress (deterioration caused by excess oxygen) triggered by the immune system.
Targeting this system with ebselen and similar compounds represents a new approach toward eradicating these bugs, the FASEB Journal reports.
"This new antibacterial principle provides better chances of surviving an infection," said Arne Holmgren, researcher in medical biochemistry and biophysics at Karolinska Institutet, according to a statement.
"Since ebselen is also an antioxidant, the present mechanism can be described as a 'two for the price of one' antioxidant action in inflammation, and specific targeting of multi-resistant bacterial complications and sepsis," said Holmgren.