Image_2_Inhibition of Toxoplasma gondii Growth by Dihydroquinine and Its Mechanisms of Action.tif (1.29 MB)
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Image_2_Inhibition of Toxoplasma gondii Growth by Dihydroquinine and Its Mechanisms of Action.tif

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posted on 11.05.2022, 13:17 by Aarin M. Huffman, Joseph A. Ayariga, Audrey Napier, Boakai K. Robertson, Daniel A. Abugri

Toxoplasma gondii is a zoonotic parasite that infects the brain of humans and causes cerebral toxoplasmosis. The recommended drugs for the treatment or prophylaxis of toxoplasmosis are pyrimethamine (PY) and sulfadiazine (SZ), which have serious side effects. Other drugs available for toxoplasmosis are poorly tolerated. Dihydroquinine (DHQ) is a compound closely related to quinine-based drugs that have been shown to inhibit Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium berghei in addition to its anti-arrhythmia properties. However, little is known about the effect of DHQ in T. gondii growth and its mechanism of action in vitro. In this study, we report the anti-Toxoplasma and anti-invasion properties of DHQ. DHQ significantly inhibited T. gondii tachyzoite growth with IC50s values of 0.63, 0.67, and 0.00137 µM at 24, 48, and 72 h, respectively. Under similar conditions, SZ and PY, considered as the gold standard drugs for the treatment of toxoplasmosis, had IC50s values of 1.29, 1.55, and 0.95 and 3.19, 3.52, and 2.42 µM, respectively. The rapid dose-dependent inhibition of T. gondii tachyzoites by DHQ compared to the standard drugs (SZ and PY) indicates that DHQ has high selective parasiticidal effects against tachyzoite proliferation. Remarkably, DHQ had an excellent selectivity index (SI) of 149- and 357-fold compared to 24- and 143-fold for PY and SZ, respectively, using fibroblast cells. In addition, DHQ disrupted T. gondii tachyzoite mitochondrial membrane potential and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production and elicited high reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation. Taking all these findings together, DHQ promises to be an effective and safe lead for the treatment of toxoplasmosis.