PloS one

Benzaldehyde thiosemicarbazone derived from limonene complexed with copper induced mitochondrial dysfunction in Leishmania amazonensis.

PMID 22870222


Leishmaniasis is a major health problem that affects more than 12 million people. Treatment presents several problems, including high toxicity and many adverse effects, leading to the discontinuation of treatment and emergence of resistant strains. We evaluated the in vitro antileishmanial activity of benzaldehyde thiosemicarbazone derived from limonene complexed with copper, termed BenzCo, against Leishmania amazonensis. BenzCo inhibited the growth of the promastigote and axenic amastigote forms, with IC(50) concentrations of 3.8 and 9.5 µM, respectively, with 72 h of incubation. Intracellular amastigotes were inhibited by the compound, with an IC(50) of 10.7 µM. BenzCo altered the shape, size, and ultrastructure of the parasites. Mitochondrial membrane depolarization was observed in protozoa treated with BenzCo but caused no alterations in the plasma membrane. Additionally, BenzCo induced lipoperoxidation and the production of mitochondrial superoxide anion radicals in promastigotes and axenic amastigotes of Leishmania amazonensis. Our studies indicated that the antileishmania activity of BenzCo might be associated with mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage, leading to parasite death.