Flau-A, a naphthoquinone derivative, is a promising therapeutic candidate against visceral leishmaniasis: A preliminary study

Débora V.C. Mendonça, Grasiele S.V. Tavares, Isabela A.G. Pereira, João A. Oliveira-da-Silva, Fernanda F. Ramos, Daniela P. Lage, Amanda S. Machado, Lívia M. Carvalho, Thiago A.R. Reis, Ana Maria R.S. Carvalho, Flaviano M. Ottoni, Fernanda Ludolf, Camila S. Freitas, Vívian T. Martins, Miguel A. Chávez-Fumagalli, Mariana C. Duarte, Maria V. Humbert, Bruno M. Roatt, Daniel Menezes-Souza, Ricardo J. AlvesEduardo A.F. Coelho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a neglected tropical disease found in tropical and subtropical regions in the world. The therapeutics used for the treatment against disease presents problems, mainly related to drug toxicity, route of administration, high cost and/or by emergence of resistant strains. In this context, the search for alternative antileishmanial candidates is desirable. Recently, a naphthoquinone derivative namely 2-(2,3,4-tri-O-acetyl-6-deoxy-β-L-galactopyranosyloxy)-1,4-naphthoquinone or Flau-A showed an effective in vitro biological action against Leishmania infantum. In the present study, the efficacy of this naphthoquinone derivative was evaluated in an in vivo infection model. BALB/c mice (n = 12 per group) were infected and later received saline or were treated with empty micelles (B/Mic), free Flau-A or it incorporated in Poloxamer 407-based micelles (Flau-A/Mic). The products were administered subcutaneously in the infected animals, which were then euthanized one (n = 6 per group) and 15 (n = 6 per group) days post-therapy, when immunological and parasitological evaluations were performed. Results showed that animals treated with Flau-A or Flau-A/Mic produced significantly higher levels of antileishmanial IFN-γ, IL-12, TNF-α, GM-CSF, nitrite and IgG2a isotype antibody, when compared to data found in the control (saline and B/Mic) groups; which showed significantly higher levels of parasite-specific IL-4, IL-10 and IgG1 antibody. In addition, animals receiving free Flau-A or Flau-A/Mic presented also significant reductions in the parasite load in their spleens, livers, bone marrows and draining lymph nodes, when compared to the controls. A low hepatic and renal toxicity was also found. Overall, Flau-A/Mic showed better immunological and parasitological results, when compared to the use of free molecule. In conclusion, preliminary data suggest that this composition could be considered in future studies as promising therapeutic candidate against VL.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108205
JournalExperimental Parasitology
Volume233
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Keywords

  • Flau-A
  • Immune response
  • Naphthoquinone derivative
  • Polymeric micelles
  • Treatment
  • Visceral leishmaniasis

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