Identification of compounds that suppress Toxoplasma gondii tachyzoites and bradyzoites

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Drug treatment for toxoplasmosis is problematic, because current drugs cannot eradicate latent infection with Toxoplasma gondii and can cause bone marrow toxicity. Because latent infection remains after treatment, relapse of infection is a problem in both infections in immunocompromised patients and in congenitally infected patients. To identify lead compounds for novel drugs against Toxoplasma gondii, we screened a chemical compound library for anti-Toxoplasma activity, host cell cytotoxicity, and effect on bradyzoites. Of 878 compounds screened, 83 demonstrated > 90% parasite growth inhibition. After excluding compounds that affected host cell viability, we further characterized two compounds, tanshinone IIA and hydroxyzine, which had IC50 values for parasite growth of 2.5 mu M and 1.0 mu M, respectively, and had no effect on host cell viability at 25 mu M. Both tanshinone IIA and hydroxyzine inhibited parasite replication after invasion and both reduced the number of in vitro-induced bradyzoites, whereas, pyrimethamine, the current therapy, had no effect on bradyzoites. Both tanshinone IIA and hydroxyzine are potent lead compounds for further medicinal chemistry. The method presented for evaluating compounds for bradyzoite efficacy represents a new approach to the development of anti-Toxoplasma drugs to eliminate latency and treat acute infection.Supporting information is available on the original article website.


  • Plos One

    Plos One 12(6), e0178203, 2017-06-13



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