Indexed on: 13 Jan '10Published on: 13 Jan '10Published in: Parasitology International
Infection with Leishmania spp. causes a disease with multifaceted clinical manifestations in humans. The treatment for leishmaniasis is dependent on a limited range of drugs. Here we investigated the antileishmanial activity of eupomatenoid-5, a neolignan isolated from leaves of Piper regnellii var. pallescens. We showed that eupomatenoid-5 had a dose-dependent activity during 72h of treatment, exhibiting IC(50) of 9.0microg/mL and 13.0microg/mL for promastigote and axenic amastigote forms, respectively, and IC(50) of 5.0microg/mL for intracellular amastigote forms of Leishmania amazonensis. When L. amazonensis was treated with eupomatenoid-5, it underwent considerable ultrastructural alterations, as shown by transmission electron microscopy. Among the alterations was the appearance of intense exocytic activity in the region of the flagellar pocket, myelin-like figures, and vacuoles in the cytoplasm of parasites treated with 9.0microg/mL. Cells treated with 25.0microg/mL showed a very large structure, apparently an extension of the endoplasmic reticulum. Also, mitochondrial swelling was detected at this concentration, indicating damage and significant change in this organelle. A cytotoxicity assay showed that the action of the isolated compound is more specific for protozoa and it is not toxic to macrophages. Our studies indicated that eupomatenoid-5 might be a potential new drug for the treatment of leishmaniasis, because this compound displays interesting antileishmanial activity in vitro against promastigote, axenic amastigote, and intracellular amastigote forms of L. amazonensis.