The pathogenicity of staphylococcus aureus is dependent largely upon its ability to secrete a number of virulence factors, therefore, anti-virulence strategy to combat S. aureus-mediated infections is now gaining great interest. It is widely recognized that some plant essential oils could affect the production of staphylococcal exotoxins when used at subinhibitory concentrations. Perilla [Perilla frutescens (L.) Britton], a natural medicine found in eastern Asia, is primarily used as both a medicinal and culinary herb. Its essential oil (perilla oil) has been previously demonstrated to be active against S. aureus. However, there are no data on the influence of perilla oil on the production of S. aureus exotoxins.
A broth microdilution method was used to determine the minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of perilla oil against S. aureus strains. Hemolysis, tumour necrosis factor (TNF) release, Western blot, and real-time RT-PCR assays were performed to evaluate the effects of subinhibitory concentrations of perilla oil on exotoxins production in S. aureus. The data presented here show that perilla oil dose-dependently decreased the production of α-toxin, enterotoxins A and B (the major staphylococcal enterotoxins), and toxic shock syndrome toxin 1 (TSST-1) in both methicillin-sensitive S. aureus (MSSA) and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA).
The production of α-toxin, SEA, SEB, and TSST-1 in S. aureus was decreased by perilla oil. These data suggest that perilla oil may be useful for the treatment of S. aureus infections when used in combination with β-lactam antibiotics, which can increase exotoxins production by S. aureus at subinhibitory concentrations. Furthermore, perilla oil could be rationally applied in food systems as a novel food preservative both to inhibit the growth of S. aureus and to repress the production of exotoxins, particularly staphylococcal enterotoxins.