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Tafenoquine, an antiplasmodial 8-aminoquinoline, targets Leishmania respiratory complex III and induces apoptosis

AuthorsCarvalho, L.; Luque-Ortega, Juan Román ; Manzano, José Ignacio; Castanys, Santiago; Rivas, Luis ; Gamarro, Francisco
Issue Date2010
PublisherAmerican Society for Microbiology
CitationAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 54: 5344- 5351 (2010)
AbstractTafenoquine (TFQ), an 8-aminoquinoline analogue of primaquine, which is currently under clinical trial (phase IIb/III) for the treatment and prevention of malaria, may represent an alternative treatment for leishmaniasis. In this work, we have studied the mechanism of action of TFQ against Leishmania parasites. TFQ impaired the overall bioenergetic metabolism of Leishmania promastigotes, causing a rapid drop in intracellular ATP levels without affecting plasma membrane permeability. TFQ induced mitochondrial dysfunction through the inhibition of cytochrome c reductase (respiratory complex III) with a decrease in the oxygen consumption rate and depolarization of mitochondrial membrane potential. This was accompanied by ROS production, elevation of intracellular Ca2+ levels and concomitant nuclear DNA fragmentation. We conclude that TFQ targets Leishmania mitochondria, leading to an apoptosis-like death process. Copyright © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1128/AAC.00790-10
issn: 0066-4804
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