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Alpha-tocopherol is one the most abundant and biologically active isoforms of vitamin E. This compound is a potent antioxidant and one of most studied isoforms of vitamin E. Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is an important nutrient for calcium homeostasis and bone health, that has also been recognized as a potent modulator of the immune response. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is the most important causative agent of both nosocomial and community-acquired infections. The aim of this study was to evaluate the inhibitory effect of alpha-tocopherol and cholecalciferol on both S. aureus and multidrug resistant S. aureus efflux pumps. The RN4220 strain has the plasmid pUL5054 that is the carrier of gene that encodes the macrolide resistance protein (an efflux pump) MsrA; the IS-58 strain possesses the TetK tetracycline efflux protein in its genome and the 1199B strain resists to hydrophilic fluoroquinolones via a NorA-mediated mechanism. The antibacterial activity was evaluated by determining the Minimal Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) and a possible inhibition of efflux pumps was associated to a reduction of the MIC. In this work we observed that in the presence of the treatments there was a decrease in the MIC for the RN4220 and IS-58 strains, suggesting that the substances presented an inhibitory effect on the efflux pumps of these strains. Significant efforts have been done to identify efflux pump inhibitors (EPIs) from natural sources and, therefore, the antibacterial properties of cholecalciferol and alpha-tocopherol might be attributed to a direct effect on the bacterial cell depending on their amphipathic structure.
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