Mansor Fazliana, Nubia L Ramos, Petra Luthje, Musa Sekikubo, Asa Holm, WM Wan Nazaimoon and Annelie Brauner (2011). Labisia pumila var. alata reduces bacterial load by inducing uroepithelial cell apoptosis. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 136(1): 111-116
Ethnopharmacological relevance: Labisia pumila var. alata (LPva) is a traditional medicinal herb used by Malaysian women to treat many ailments of the genitourinary tract. Its phytoestrogenic properties suggest potential to prevent recurrent urinary tract infection (UTI) in women post menopause. The aim of this study was therefore to investigate the mechanisms of action of LPva in an in vitro model of UTI. Materials and methods: Bladder epithelial cell lines T24 and 5637 and uropathogenic Escherichia coli (UPEC) strain CFT073 were used to model uroepithelial infection. The ability of LPva to induce programmed cell death was tested using the Annexin-V-FLUOS and TUNEL assays. Expression of caveolin-1, ?1 integrin and antimicrobial peptides HBD-2 and LL-37 in response to LPva treatment and/or infection, was assessed using RT real-time PCR. Effects on protein expression were confirmed by Western blot analysis. Sensitivity and yeast agglutination assays were employed to determine if LPva had antimicrobial activities and/or interacted with type 1 fimbriae, respectively. Finally, bacterial adherence and invasion to cells treated with LPva was examined. Results: LPva induced uroepithelial apoptosis whichwascoupled with upregulated expression of caveolin- 1 and downregulation of ?1 integrin. LPva did not exhibit direct antimicrobial properties and did not influence antimicrobial peptide levels in cells. Additionally, LPva did not interact with type 1 fimbriae and did not affect adherence in comparison to non-treated control cells. However, LPva significantly reduced the number of intracellular UPEC in bladder epithelial cells. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that LPva has beneficial applications against UPEC infection due to its ability to induce programmed cell death and reduce bacterial invasion of the uroepithelium.