Chemical screening unearths tannic acid as candidate for cystic fibrosis therapy

Tannic acid, Staphylococcus aureus, cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is characterised by recurring lung infections that drive disease progression. Staphylococcus aureus is a major cause of early infection in CF, secreting the pathogenic factor sphingomyelinase C (SMaseC).

Zhe Lu at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, and team screened a chemical library of more than 2,000 naturally occurring chemicals and drugs. They found that tannic acid – a readily available and inexpensive natural product – was an SMaseC antidote, able to prevent the negative effects of the enzyme both in S. Aureus and in anthrax bacterium.

“Treatment with tannic acid may improve the outcome in a number of bacterial infections,” write Lu and co-authors in eLife
(online, 14 October 2014).



[1] Ramu Y, Xu Y, Shin H-G et al. Counteracting suppression of CFTR and voltage-gated K+ channels by a bacterial pathogenic factor with the natural product tannic acid. eLife 2014. doi: (accessed 14 October 2014).

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, 1 November 2014, Vol 293, No 7834;293(7834):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2014.20066947

You may also be interested in