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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2012, Vol. 10 ›› Issue (4): 462-470.doi: 10.3736/jcim20120416

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Phenotypic evidence of ultra-highly diluted homeopathic remedies acting at gene expression level: A novel probe on experimental phage infectivity in bacteria

Santu Kumar Saha, Sreemanti Das, Anisur Rahman Khuda-Bukhsh()   

  1. Cytogenetics and Molecular Biology Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of Kalyani, Kalyani 741235, India
  • Received:2011-11-11 Accepted:2011-12-21 Online:2012-04-20 Published:2018-04-15

Objective: To explore if some ultra-highly diluted homeopathic remedies claimed to have antiviral effects can demonstrate any discernible action in the bacteriaEscherichia coli through modulating infectivity potentials of the bacteriophage ФX174 DNA.
Methods: ФX174 was selected because of its known host specificity to E. coli and its constitutive expression of lytic gene E when inside the bacterial host. We deployed the “bacteriophage assay system” by “top layer agar plating” method of plaque-counting for evaluation of efficacy of the homeopathic remedies in rendering the bacteria’s protective ability against the attack of ФX174. The plaque number in the agar-plated Petri dishes, either containing the phage-bacteria mixture subjected to one of the diluted homeopathic drugs under test (1% volume ratio; Belladonna 30C, Rhus Tox 30C, Arnica 30C) or the succussed 1% “alcoholic vehicle” of the drug was recorded. The plaques represented the bacterial colony actually infected and lysed by ФX174. Conversely, we subjected ФX174 to the homeopathic drug treatment before allowing them to interact with the bacteria to ascertain if the drug itself had any direct effect on the infective potential of the phage DNA entering into the bacterial cell.
Results: Each homeopathic remedy showed a significant decrease in plaque number on pretreated bacteria (1 h prior to infection) with respect to untreated and placebo-treated controls; there was only an insignificant change in the plaque number when ФX174 was pretreated with the drugs. As ФX174 starts lytic cycle when inside the bacterial cell, the loss of plaque number would mean that either the lytic gene E in many was repressed or the entire phage DNA was annihilated by the bacterial gene product (restriction enzymes) known to be regulated by a cluster of genes.
Conclusion: This provides phenotypic evidence for the ability of ultra-highly diluted homeopathic remedies to regulate expression of certain gene(s) depending on need of the organism.

Key words: bacteriophage phi X 174, Escherichia coli, homeopathy, gene expression regulation, plaque assay

Figure 1

Representation of phage infectivity on drug-pretreated bacteria A: Control group without any treatment; B: Placebo treated with 1% of alcohol; C: Bacteria treated with 1% Belladona 30C prior to infection; D: Bacteria treated with 1% Rhus Tox 30C prior to infection; E: Bacteria treated with 1% Arnica 30C prior to infection."

Figure 2

Plaque-forming units in drug-treated bacteria prior to phage infection Data are expressed as mean±standard error of mean of plaque-forming unit. n=5; *P<0.05, vs control group; △P<0.05, vs placebo group."

Figure 3

Representation of phage infectivity on drug-pretreated phage A: Control group without any treatment; B: Placebo treated with 1% of alcohol; C: Phage treated with 1% Belladona 30C prior to infection; D: Phage treated with 1% Rhus Tox 30C prior to infection; E: Phage treated with 1% Arnica 30C prior to infection."

Figure 4

Plaque-forming units in drug-treated phage prior to infection Data are expressed as mean±standard error of mean of plaque-forming unit. n=5."

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