Natural and hemi-synthetic pentacyclic triterpenes as antimicrobials and resistance modifying agents against Staphylococcus aureus: a review

  • Lucy Catteau
  • Li Zhu
  • Françoise Van Bambeke
  • Joëlle Quetin-Leclercq


Staphylococcus aureus infections are considered as seriously problematic for human health and necessitate the development of new medicines and innovative antimicrobial strategies. Plant secondary metabolites have already demonstrated their potential as antibacterials when used alone but also in combination with other antimicrobial agents to potentiate their activity. Triterpenoids are widely distributed in the plant kingdom and known to have many beneficial effects, including anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, anti-proliferative, antimycotic, or antimicrobial activity. The aim of this paper is to review the activity of pentacyclic triterpenoids belonging to the ursane, oleanane, or lupane groups against Staphylococcus aureus. We summarize their activity as anti-staphylococcal compounds but also as resistance modifying agents when combined with common antibiotics.


Ursane Oleanane Lupane MIC FICI Staphylococcus aureus 



American type culture collection


betulinic acid


ceanothic acid


fractional inhibitory concentration index


maslinic acid


minimum inhibitory concentration


methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus


methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus


microbial type culture collection


NITE (National Institute of Technology and Evaluation) Biological Resource Center


oleanolic acid


penicillin binding protein


structure activity-relationship


ursolic acid

Supplementary material

11101_2018_9564_MOESM1_ESM.docx (361 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 360 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pharmacognosy Research Group, Louvain Drug Research InstituteUniversité catholique de LouvainBrusselsBelgium
  2. 2.Pharmacologie cellulaire et moléculaire, Louvain Drug Research InstituteUniversité catholique de LouvainBrusselsBelgium

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