Trypanosoma brucei: trypanocidal and cell swelling activities of lasalocid acid

Dietmar Steverding, Adam Huczyński

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Chemotherapeutic treatment of human and animal trypanosomaisis is unsatisfactory because only a few drugs are available. As these drugs have poor efficacy and cause adverse reactions, more effective and tolerable medications are needed. As the polyether ionophore antibiotic lasalocid acid is used as medicated feed additive in cattle, the compound was tested for its trypanocidal and cytotoxic activity against bloodstream forms of Trypanosoma brucei and human myeloid HL-60 cells. The concentrations required of lasalocid acid to reduce the growth rate of trypanosomes by 50% and to kill the parasites were 1.75 µM and 10 µM respectively. The ionophore displayed also cytotoxic activity against HL-60 cells but the human cells were about 10 to 14 times less sensitive indicating moderate selectivity. As the trypanocidal mechanism of action of polyether ionophore antibiotics is due to a sodium influx-induced cell swelling, the effect of lasalocid acid on cell volume change in bloodstream-form trypanosomes was investigated. Interestingly, lasalocid acid induced a much faster cell swelling in trypanosomes than the more trypanocidal related ionophore salinomycin. These results support further investigations of lasalocid acid and derivatives thereof as potential agents against African trypanosomiasis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3229–3233
Number of pages5
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number11
Early online date27 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • African trypanosomiasis
  • Trypanosoma brucei
  • Lasalocid acid
  • Polyether ionophores

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