Journal of Applied Microbiology, Vol.128, No.5, 1514-1523, 2020
Inhibition of urease activity in the urinary tract pathogens Staphylococcus saprophyticus and Proteus mirabilis by dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO)
Aims Urease is a virulence factor for the urinary tract pathogens Staphylococcus saprophyticus and Proteus mirabilis. Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) is structurally similar to urea, used as a solvent for urease inhibitors, and an effective treatment for interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS). The aims of this study were to test DMSO as a urease inhibitor and determine its physiological effects on S. saprophyticus and P. mirabilis. Methods and Results Urease activity in extracts and whole cells was measured by the formation of ammonium ions. Urease was highly sensitive to noncompetitive inhibition by DMSO (K-i about 6 mmol l(-1)). DMSO inhibited urease activity in whole cells, limited bacterial growth in media containing urea, and slowed the increase in pH which occurred in artificial urine medium. Conclusions DMSO should be used with caution as a solvent when testing plant extracts or other potential urease inhibitors. Because it can inhibit bacterial growth and delay an increase in pH, it may be an effective treatment for urinary tract infections. Significance and Impact of the Study This is the first detailed study of the inhibition of urease by DMSO. Dimethylsulfoxide may be used to treat urinary tract infections that are resistant to antibiotics or herbal remedies.