In addition to pH, certain metabolites, specifically aryl sulfates, are key to controlling SCN activity, the authors determined after evaluating thousands of compounds in the urine samples. These metabolites, which vary with diet, were more plentiful in samples with less bacterial growth.
The authors surmise that SCN may work with aryl metabolites from dietary plant compounds to prevent E. coli from using a compound called enterobactin to bind to iron in urine. Exploring methods of obstructing enterobactin’s iron-binding capacity could lead to eventual development of drugs with different antimicrobial properties than current antibiotics, they note.
“Our study suggests that the body’s immune system harnesses dietary plant compounds to prevent bacterial growth,” said senior author Jonathan Henderson, MD, PhD, in a press release from Washington University. “We identified a list of compounds of interest, and many of these are associated with specific dietary components and with gut microbes.”
Finding new approaches to preventing and treating UTI by promoting the chemical characteristics of urine that restrict bacterial growth, thereby strengthening the body’s innate immune defenses, could help address the problem of growing resistance to the antibiotics used to treat UTI, the study suggests.
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