Original Paper

Parasitology Research

, Volume 103, Issue 1, pp 111-117

Anti-Trypanosoma cruzi activity of Pterodon pubescens seed oil: geranylgeraniol as the major bioactive component

  • R. F. S. Menna-BarretoAffiliated withLaboratório de Biologia Celular, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz
  • , G. A. T. LaranjaAffiliated withDepartamento de Bioquímica, Instituto de Biologia Roberto Alcântara Gomes, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro
  • , M. C. C. SilvaAffiliated withDepartamento de Bioquímica, Instituto de Biologia Roberto Alcântara Gomes, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro
  • , M. G. P. CoelhoAffiliated withDepartamento de Bioquímica, Instituto de Biologia Roberto Alcântara Gomes, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro
  • , M. C. PaesAffiliated withDepartamento de Bioquímica, Instituto de Biologia Roberto Alcântara Gomes, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro
  • , M. M. OliveiraAffiliated withDepartamento de Bioquímica, Instituto de Biologia Roberto Alcântara Gomes, Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro
  • , S. L. de CastroAffiliated withLaboratório de Biologia Celular, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Fiocruz Email author 

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access

Abstract

In the search for new therapeutic agents for Chagas’ disease, we screened extracts obtained from the Brazilian plant Pterodon pubescens found commercially in the medicinal flora market. We investigated the potential trypanocidal effect of the oleaginous ethanolic extract of P. pubescens seeds and its fractions (PF1, PF1.1, PF1.2, and PF1.3) and of geranylgeraniol (GG-OH), the sole component of the hexane fraction (PF1.2). In experiments with bloodstream trypomastigotes of Trypanosoma cruzi, performed at 37°C in culture medium, PF1.2 and GG-OH showed similar potency, while the oleaginous extract from P. pubescens seeds and the other fractions were about three times less active. GG-OH inhibited the proliferation of intracellular amastigotes, at concentrations which do not affect the mammalian host cell. Transmission electron microscopy and flow cytometry analysis indicate the mitochondrion, an organelle that plays a central role in apoptosis, of both epimastigotes and of trypomastigotes as the major target of GG-OH. On the other hand, the ultrastructural images of the endoplasmic reticulum profiles, myelin-like figures, and concentric membranous arrangements inside damaged mitochondrion are suggestive of an autophagic pathway leading to parasite death. Because the different forms of cell death share some morphological features such as mitochondrial collapse, further studies are needed to disclose the trypanocidal action of GG-OH.