S-carboxymethylcysteine inhibits the attachment of Streptococcus pneumoniae to human pharyngeal epithelial cells
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Streptococcus pneumoniae causes respiratory and other invasive infections. Increased resistance of this bacterium to antibiotics necessitates new approaches to the treatment of infections. Attachment of bacteria to human pharyngeal epithelial cells is the initial step in the pathogenesis of infection and S-carboxymethylcysteine (S-CMC) can modulate the attachment of Moraxella catarrhalis and nontypable Haemophilus influenzae to epithelial cells. Unlike these two, S. pneumoniae is gram-positive and has a well-defined capsule. Here we examined the effects of S-CMC on the attachment and detachment of S. pneumoniae to human pharyngeal epithelial cells in vitro. Treatment of these cells with S-CMC significantly reduced the number of attached S. pneumoniae. S-CMC also resulted in a significant increase in the detachment of already attached S. pneumoniae to epithelial cells. In addition, treatment of S. pneumoniae with S-CMC significantly reduced their ability to attach to epithelial cells, but not the number of viable bacteria. Our study shows that S-CMC modulates the attachment of S. pneumoniae to human pharyngeal epithelial cells by acting both on cells and bacteria. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.