Artemisinin and its derivatives in treating protozoan infections beyond malaria.
Pharmacol Res. 2016 Nov 17 ;117:192-217. Epub 2016 Nov 17. PMID: 27867026
Cecilia Shi Ni Loo
Parasitic protozoan diseases continue to rank among the world's greatest global health problems, which are also common among poor populations. Currently available drugs for treatment present drawbacks, urging the need for more effective, safer, and cheaper drugs. Artemisinin (ART) and its derivatives are some of the most important classes of antimalarial agents originally derived from Artemisia annua L. However, besides the outstanding antimalarial and antischistosomal activities, ART and its derivatives also possess activities against other parasitic protozoa. In this paper we review the activities of ART and its derivatives against protozoan parasites in vitro and in vivo, including Leishmania spp., Trypanosoma spp., Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum, Eimeria tenella, Acanthamoeba castellanii, Naegleria fowleri, Cryptosporidium parvum, Giardia lamblia, and Babesia spp. We conclude that ART and its derivatives may be good alternatives for treating other non-malarial protozoan infections in developing countries, although more studies are necessary before they can be applied clinically.