The herbal-derived honokiol and magnolol enhances immune response to infection with methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA)

Eun Jin Choi, Hyung Ip Kim, Ji Ae Kim, Soo Youn Jun, Sang Hyeon Kang, Dong June Park, Seok Jun Son, Younghoon Kim, Ok Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


The emergence of antibiotic resistant strains such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) reminds us an urgent need to develop a new immune-modulating agent for preventing S. aureus infection. In this study, we found that herbal medicines, honokiol and magnolol, caused a significant cellular immune modulatory effect during S. aureus infection. In mouse macrophages, these compounds drove upregulation of an antioxidant effect in response to S. aureus, resulting in a dampened total cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and decreased production of inflammatory cytokines/chemokines, whereas honokiol induced increased types I and III interferon messenger RNA (mRNA) expression levels in response to MSSA infection. Moreover, the internalization of S. aureus by human alveolar epithelial cells was inhibited by these compounds. Furthermore, honokiol and magnolol treatment promoted a delay in killing during MSSA infection in Caenorhabditis elegans, suggesting antimicrobial function in vivo. In conclusion, honokiol and magnolol may be considered as attractive immune-modulating treatment for S. aureus infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4387-4396
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Microbiology and Biotechnology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2015 May 1



  • C. elegans
  • Herbal medicine
  • Immune-modulating activity
  • S. aureus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

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