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Semicarbazone derivatives as promising therapeutic alternatives in leishmaniasis

Cavalcanti de Queiroz, Aline, Alves, Marina Amaral, Barreiro, Eliezer Jesus, Lima, Lídia Moreira, Alexandre-Moreira, Magna Suzana
Experimental parasitology 2019 v.201 pp. 57-66
Leishmania amazonensis, Leishmania braziliensis, amastigotes, antileishmanial properties, antileishmanials, apoptosis, autophagy, cell cycle, dermis, ears, leishmaniasis, macrophages, mice, parasite load, parasites, peptides, promastigotes, therapeutics
In the present study, we investigated the in vitro and in vivo leishmanicidal activity of synthetic compounds, containing a semicarbazone scaffold as a peptide mimetic framework. The leishmanicidal effect against amastigotes of Leishmania amazonensis was also evaluated at concentration of 100 μM–0.01 nM. The derivatives 2e, 2f, 2g and 1g, beyond the standards miltefosine and pentamidine, significantly diminished the number of L. amazonensis amastigotes in macrophages. These derivatives were also active against amastigotes of L. braziliensis. As 2g presented potent leishmanicidal activity against the amastigotes of L. amazonensis in macrophages, we also investigated the in vivo leishmanicidal activity of this compound against L. amazonensis. Approximately 105L. amazonensis promastigotes were subcutaneously inoculated into the dermis of the right ear of BALB/c mice, which were subsequently treated with 2g (p.o. or i.p.), miltefosine (p.o.) or glucantime (i.p.) at 30 μmol/kg/day x 28 days. Thus, a similar reduction in the lesion size was observed after the administration of 2g through oral (63.7 ± 10.1%) and intraperitoneal (61.8 ± 3.7%) routes. A larger effect was observed after treatment with miltefosine (97.7 ± 0.4%), and glucantime did not exhibit activity at the dose administered. With respect to the ear parasite load, 2g diminished the number of parasites by p.o. (30.5 ± 5.1%) and i.p. (33.3 ± 4.3%) administration. In addition, 2g induced in vitro apoptosis, autophagy and cell cycle alterations on L. amazonensis promastigotes. In summary, the derivative 2g might represent a lead candidate for antileishmanial drugs, as this compound displayed pronounced leishmanicidal activity.