Center for Infectious Diseases, the University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, Texas, United States of America.
Rifaximin is a semi-synthetic rifamycin derivative that is used to treat different conditions including bacterial diarrhea and hepatic encephalopathy. Rifaximin is of particular interest because it is poorly adsorbed in the intestines and has minimal effect on colonic microflora. We previously demonstrated that rifaximin affected epithelial cell physiology by altering infectivity by enteric pathogens and baseline inflammation suggesting that rifaximin conferred cytoprotection against colonization and infection. Effects of rifaximin on epithelial cells were further examined by comparing the protein expression profile of cells pretreated with rifaximin, rifampin (control antibiotic), or media (untreated). Two-dimensional (2-D) gel electrophoresis identified 36 protein spots that were up- or down-regulated by over 1.7-fold in rifaximin treated cells compared to controls. 15 of these spots were down-regulated, including annexin A5, intestinal-type alkaline phosphatase, histone H4, and histone-binding protein RbbP4. 21 spots were up-regulated, including heat shock protein (HSP) 90α and fascin. Many of the identified proteins are associated with cell structure and cytoskeleton, transcription and translation, and cellular metabolism. These data suggested that in addition to its antimicrobial properties, rifaximin may alter host cell physiology that provides cytoprotective effects against bacterial pathogens.