Antimicrobial strategies centered around reactive oxygen species – bactericidal antibiotics, photodynamic therapy, and beyond

Authors

  • Fatma Vatansever,

    1. The Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Wanessa C.M.A. de Melo,

    1. The Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
    2. University of Sao Paulo, Sao Carlos-SP, Brazil
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  • Pinar Avci,

    1. The Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
    3. Department of Dermatology, Semmelweis University School of Medicine, Budapest, Hungary
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  • Daniela Vecchio,

    1. The Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
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  • Magesh Sadasivam,

    1. The Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Amity Institute of Nanotechnology, Amity University Uttar Pradesh, Noida, India
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  • Asheesh Gupta,

    1. The Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
    3. Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences, Timarpur, Delhi, India
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  • Rakkiyappan Chandran,

    1. The Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Amity Institute of Nanotechnology, Amity University Uttar Pradesh, Noida, India
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  • Mahdi Karimi,

    1. The Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Departments of Nanobiotechnology and Biophysics, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran
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  • Nivaldo A. Parizotto,

    1. The Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
    3. Laboratory of Electromorphophototherapy, Department of Physiotherapy, University of São Carlos, São Carlos-SP, Brazil
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  • Rui Yin,

    1. The Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
    3. Department of Dermatology, Southwest Hospital, Third Military Medical University, District Shapingba, Chongqing, China
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  • George P. Tegos,

    1. The Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
    3. Department of Pathology, University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque, NM, USA
    4. Center for Molecular Discovery, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA
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  • Michael R. Hamblin

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA
    2. Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA
    • The Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
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Correspondence: Michael Hamblin, The Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, 40 Blossom Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA. Tel.: +1 617 726 6182; fax: +1 617 726 8566; e-mail: hamblin@helix.mgh.harvard.edu

Abstract

Reactive oxygen species (ROS) can attack a diverse range of targets to exert antimicrobial activity, which accounts for their versatility in mediating host defense against a broad range of pathogens. Most ROS are formed by the partial reduction in molecular oxygen. Four major ROS are recognized comprising superoxide (math formula), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), hydroxyl radical (OH), and singlet oxygen (1O2), but they display very different kinetics and levels of activity. The effects of math formula and H2O2 are less acute than those of •OH and 1O2, because the former are much less reactive and can be detoxified by endogenous antioxidants (both enzymatic and nonenzymatic) that are induced by oxidative stress. In contrast, no enzyme can detoxify OH or 1O2, making them extremely toxic and acutely lethal. The present review will highlight the various methods of ROS formation and their mechanism of action. Antioxidant defenses against ROS in microbial cells and the use of ROS by antimicrobial host defense systems are covered. Antimicrobial approaches primarily utilizing ROS comprise both bactericidal antibiotics and nonpharmacological methods such as photodynamic therapy, titanium dioxide photocatalysis, cold plasma, and medicinal honey. A brief final section covers reactive nitrogen species and related therapeutics, such as acidified nitrite and nitric oxide-releasing nanoparticles.

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