Bactericidal, anti-biofilm, and anti-virulence activity of vitamin C against carbapenem-resistant hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

6 Scopus Citations
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  • Chen Xu
  • Ning Dong
  • Kaichao Chen
  • Ping Zeng
  • Edward Wai Chi Chan


Original languageEnglish
Article number103894
Journal / PublicationiScience
Issue number3
Online published8 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2022



The emergence of carbapenem-resistant hypervirulent Klebsiella pneumoniae (CR-hvKP) causing high mortality in clinical patients infers the urgent need for developing therapeutic agents. Here, we demonstrated vitamin C (VC) exhibited strong bactericidal, anti-biofilm, and virulence-suppressing effects on CR-hvKP. Our results showed such a bactericidal effect is dose-dependent both in vitro and in the mouse infection model and is associated with induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. In addition, VC inhibited biofilm formation of CR-hvKP through suppressing the production of exopolysaccharide (EPS). In addition, VC acted as an efflux pump inhibitor at subminimum inhibitory concentration (sub-MIC) to disrupt transportation of EPS and capsular polysaccharide to bacterial cell surface, thereby further inhibiting biofilm and capsule formation. Furthermore, virulence-associated genes in CR-hvKP exposed to sub-MIC of VC were downregulated. Our findings indicated VC could be an effective and safe therapeutic agent to treat CR-hvKP infections in urgent cases when all current treatment options fail.

Research Area(s)

  • Microbiofilms, Microbiology, Molecular biology

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