Parasitology research

The effect of 3-(biphenyl-4-yl)-3-hydoxyquinuclidine (BPQ-OH) and metronidazole on Trichomonas vaginalis: a comparative study.

PMID 24752367


Trichomonas vaginalis causes trichomoniasis in humans, a sexually transmitted disease commonly treated with metronidazole (MTZ), a drug that presents some toxicity, causing undesirable side effects. In addition, an increase in metronidazole-resistant parasites has been reported. Thus, the development of alternative treatment is recommended. To date, the search for antiparasitic drugs has been based on different approaches: identification of active natural products, identification of parasite targets, and the use of available compounds active against other pathogenic microorganisms. Here, we analyzed the in vitro antiproliferative and ultrastructural effects on T. vaginalis of BPQ-OH, a hydroxiquinuclidine derivative that inhibits squalene synthase and is active against several protozoa and fungi. We also compared the effects of BPQ-OH on T. vaginalis and mammalian cells with those of MTZ. We found that BPQ-OH inhibits in vitro proliferation of T. vaginalis, with an IC50 of 46xa0μM after 24xa0h. Although this IC50 is 16 times higher than that of MTZ (1.8xa0μM), BPQ-OH is less toxic for human cell lines than MTZ, with LC50 values of 2,300 and 70xa0μM, and selective indexes of 50 and 39, respectively. Ultrastructural analyses demonstrated that BPQ-OH induced alterations in T. vaginalis, such as rounded and wrinkled cells, membrane blebbing and intense vacuolization, leading to cell death, whereas MTZ also caused significant changes, including a decrease in hydrogenosomes size and endoflagellar forms. Our observations identify BPQ-OH as a promising leading compound for the development of novel anti-T. vaginalis drugs and highlight the need for further testing this molecule using experimentally infected animals.