Antibacterial activity of sucralfate versus aluminum chloride in simulated gastric fluid

L. Welage, P. Carver, K. Welch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Studies have previously demonstrated that sucralfate possesses intrinsic antibacterial activity. This study was designed to indirectly assess whether aluminum is the active antibacterial component of sucralfate and to further evaluate factors that may influence this agent's antibacterial activity. Utilizing an in vitro model, the antibacterial activity of sucralfate, an equivalent quantity of aluminum in the form of aluminum chloride, and a control were compared. In addition, the influences of bacterial species (Enterobacter cloacae and Pseudomonas aeruginosa), time (0-24 h) and environmental pH (3, 5, 7) on the agents' antibacterial activities were evaluated. Equivalent quantities of aluminum, as either sucralfate or aluminum chloride, were added to two of three flasks containing approximately 105 cfu/ml of bacteria in pH-adjusted simulated gastric fluid. The third flask served as a control. Samples were obtained over 24 h, diluted and subcultured onto agar plates. The experiments demonstrated that bacterial growth was influenced by pH, time and treatment (aluminum chloride or sucralfate). Regardless of pH or bacterial species, bacterial death occurred within 20 min following the addition of aluminum chloride. In contrast, bacterial death following the addition of sucralfate was more variable and appeared to be pH dependent. In conclusion, sucralfate and aluminum chloride both possess antibacterial activity, even at pH values that normally support bacterial growth in gastric fluid. Although differences in the antibacterial activity of the two agents may in part be related to drug-induced changes in pH, these differences also support data suggesting that aluminum release from sucralfate is incomplete and is dependent on pH.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1046-1052
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1994


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