Monensin is a lipid-soluble naturally occurring bioactive ionophore produced by Streptomyces
spp. Its antimicrobial activity is mediated by its ability to exchange Na+ and K+ ions across the
cell membrane thereby disrupting ionic gradients and altering cellular physiology. It is approved by
Food and Drug Administration as a veterinary antibiotic to treat coccidiosis. Besides veterinary applications,
monensin exhibits a broad spectrum activity against opportunistic pathogens of humans such
as bacteria, virus, fungi and parasites in both drug sensitive and resistant strains. This ionophore can
selectively kill pathogens with negligible toxic effect on mammalian cells. In this review, we discuss
the therapeutic potential of monensin as a new broad-spectrum anti-microbial agent that warrants further
studies for clinical use.
Keywords: Monensin, Anti-microbial, Ionophores, Pathogens, Chemotherapy, Drug-resistant.
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