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Molecular Measurements Show How Cranberry Juice Battles Urinary Tract Infections

July 15, 2010: 10:25 AM EST
New research sheds light on the molecular basis of cranberry juice’s ability to ward off urinary tract infections caused by E. coli bacteria. The researchers found that the virulent form of E. coli bacteria is covered with small hair-like projections known as fimbriae that attach themselves to urinary tract cells. An infection results when enough of the bacteria accumulate. Exposure to cranberry juice, however, reduces the ability of the bacteria to attach to urinary tract cells. The researchers measured the mechanical forces of the attachment of E. coli to urinary tract cells and documented how the force of attachment is reduced in the presence of cranberry juice cocktail. The findings have implications for developing new antibiotic drugs and infection-resistant materials for invasive medical devices, the researchers said.
Yatao Liu, Paola A. Pinzón-Arango, Amparo M. Gallardo-Moreno, Terri A. Camesano , "Direct adhesion force measurements between E. coli and human uroepithelial cells in cranberry juice cocktail", Molecular Nutrition and Food Research, July 15, 2010, © Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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