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New publication in Experimental Parasitology

28 nov 2023 - 14:53 CET

Single and combination treatment of Toxoplasma gondii infections with a bumped kinase inhibitor and artemisone in vitro and with artemiside in experimentally infected mice

Carling Schlange, Joachim Müller, Dennis Imhof, Kai Pascal Alexander Hänggeli, Ghalia Boubaker, Luis-Miguel Ortega-Mora, Ho Ning Wong, Richard K. Haynes, Wesley C. Van Voorhis, Andrew Hemphill


In previous studies, the artemisinin derivatives artemisone, its pro-drug artemiside and the bumped-kinase inhibitor BKI-1748 were effective against T. gondii via different modes of action. This suggests that they may act synergistically resulting in improved efficacies in vitro and in vivo. To test this hypothesis, the compounds were applied alone and in combination to T. gondii infected human fibroblast host cells in order to determine their inhibition constants and effects on cellular ultrastructure. In addition, the efficacy of either single- or combined treatments were assessed in an acute TgShSp1-oocyst infection model based on CD1 outbred mice. Whereas the IC50 of the compounds in combination (42 nM) was close to the IC50 of BKI-1748 alone (46 nM) and half of the IC50 of artemisone alone (92 nM), the IC90 of the combination was half of the values found with the single compounds (138 nM vs. ca. 270 nM). Another indication for synergistic effects in vitro were distinct alterations of the cellular ultrastructure of tachyzoites observed in combination, but not with the single compounds. These promising results could not be reproduced in vivo. There was no decrease in number of T. gondii positive brains by either treatment. However, the levels of infection in these brains, i. e. the number of tachyzoites, was significantly decreased upon BKI-1748 treatment alone, and the combination with artemiside did not produce any further decrease. The treatment with artemiside alone had no significant effects. A vertical transmission model could not be established since artemiside strongly interfered with pregnancy and caused abortion. These results show that is difficult to extrapolate from promising in vitro results to the situation in vivo.

New publication in Experimental Parasitology - 1

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