Xanthones from Mangosteen: a potential treatment for tuberculosis

Xanthones from Mangosteen: a potential treatment for tuberculosis

Published in the European Journal of Medicinal Chemistry (2016), researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have discovered that unique antioxidants known as ‘xanthones’ found in the pericarp (peel) of mangosteens, could be beneficial in the fight against tuberculosis.

The researchers at NUS discovered that the xanthones in mangosteen were very effective at inhibiting and killing the bacterium responsible for causing tuberculosis, known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis. They also found that xanthones are unlikely to develop drug resistance, a common problem with current TB drugs. NUS researcher’s reasoning for conducting this research was due to the interesting results of previous studies using mangosteen. Key compounds found in the fruit, mangostins and xanthones, have been linked to a multitude of potential health benefits and more specifically, that xanthones were effective against Staphylococcus (another type of disease causing bacteria). 

“The discovery of this new potential TB drug candidate is significant; aside from two new drugs approved in recent years for multidrug-resistant TB, the disease had not seen new drug developments in over 40 years. Using a proven antibacterial compound like xanthones means we do not have to re-invent the wheel by searching for and testing totally new compounds”, said Nicholas Paton, professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at NUS Medicine.

Although laboratory and preclinical testing on xanthones efficacy in treating TB will take several more years, it appears to be a promising new candidate in the uphill battle against tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis (TB) is a multi-drug resistant bacteria. It is only partly preventable by vaccination and often requires a long course of treatment (six to 24 months), involving multiple antibiotics. It affects an estimated 8.6 million people globally, and is the cause of 1.3 million deaths each year.

Mangosteen is a tropical evergreen fruit native to Indonesia, and its unique compounds (including mangostins and xanthones) are being researched as potential therapies for a number of different health issues.

To learn more about Mangosteen and how it can support your health, click here.