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Leishmania parasites infect macrophages causing a wide spectrum of human diseases encompassing from cutaneous to visceral forms. The drugs currently used in leishmaniasis treatment are highly toxic and associated with acquired resistance. Seeking novel therapeutic targets, we conducted a comprehensive in vitro study to investigate the action of trans-chalcone (TC) against Leishmania amazonensis promastigote and amastigote forms. TC is a common precursor of flavonoids, however, no extensive research has been developed regarding its pharmacological properties. In silico predictions showed good drug-likeness potential for TC with high oral bioavailability and intestinal absorption. The TC-treatment had a direct action on promastigote forms leading to death by late apoptosis-like process resulting from an increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), loss of mitochondrial integrity, phosphatidylserine exposure, and damage on the membrane. Similar results were found for L. amazonensis-axenic amastigotes. The TC-treatment of L.amazonensis-infected macrophages proved to reduce the percentage of infected cells as well as the number of amastigotes per macrophage, consequently, the number of promastigotes recovered without cytotoxic effects on macrophages, having indicated a selectivity index (SI) of 53.8 for the parasite. Such leishmanicidal effect was followed by a decrease in the levels of TNF-α, TGF-β, IL-10, ROS and NO, in addition to upregulation mRNA expression of Nrf2, heme-oxigenase, and ferritin, modulating iron metabolism, depleting available iron for parasite replication, and survival within macrophages. These results suggested trans-chalcone as a satisfactory support for further studies as well as a possible further lead molecule for the design of new prototypes of antileishmanial drugs.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: European journal of pharmacology
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A parasitic hemoflagellate of the subgenus Leishmania leishmania that infects man and animals including rodents. The Leishmania mexicana complex causes both cutaneous (LEISHMANIASIS, CUTANEOUS) and diffuse cutaneous leishmaniasis (LEISHMANIASIS, DIFFUSE CUTANEOUS) and includes the subspecies amazonensis, garnhami, mexicana, pifanoi, and venezuelensis. L. m. mexicana causes chiclero ulcer, a form of cutaneous leishmaniasis (LEISHMANIASIS, CUTANEOUS) in the New World. The sandfly, Lutzomyia, appears to be the vector.
A parasitic hemoflagellate of the subgenus Leishmania leishmania that has been found as a natural infection of the Brazilian guinea pig. Its host-tissue relationship is, in general, comparable to that of L. braziliensis.
A genus of flagellate protozoa comprising several species that are pathogenic for humans. Organisms of this genus have an amastigote and a promastigote stage in their life cycles. As a result of enzymatic studies this single genus has been divided into two subgenera: Leishmania leishmania and Leishmania viannia. Species within the Leishmania leishmania subgenus include: L. aethiopica, L. arabica, L. donovani, L. enrietti, L. gerbilli, L. hertigi, L. infantum, L. major, L. mexicana, and L. tropica. The following species are those that compose the Leishmania viannia subgenus: L. braziliensis, L. guyanensis, L. lainsoni, L. naiffi, and L. shawi.
A parasitic hemoflagellate of the subgenus Leishmania leishmania that infects man and animals and causes cutaneous leishmaniasis (LEISHMANIASIS, CUTANEOUS) of the Old World. Transmission is by Phlebotomus sandflies.
A parasitic hemoflagellate of the subgenus Leishmania leishmania that infects man and animals and causes visceral leishmaniasis (LEISHMANIASIS, VISCERAL). The sandfly genera Phlebotomus and Lutzomyia are the vectors.
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