Research ArticleDrug Discovery

Shaping mycolactone for therapeutic use against inflammatory disorders

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Science Translational Medicine  27 May 2015:
Vol. 7, Issue 289, pp. 289ra85
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aab0458

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Modifying microbial immunosuppressants

Microbes have evolved an arsenal of methods to avoid host response, including decreasing inflammation. Now, Guenin-Macé et al. repurpose a compound with ulcerative, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory effects produced by Mycobacterium ulcerans—mycolactone—as an anti-inflammatory drug. They found a synthetic subunit of mycolactone that retained its immunosuppressive and analgesic activities but was less toxic in terms of ulcerative activity. This subunit suppressed chronic skin inflammation and inflammatory pain in an animal model with minimal side effects, and could serve as a new anti-inflammatory agent if these results hold true in humans.

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