Imidazo[2,1-a]isoindole scaffold as an uncharted structure active on Leishmania donovani.


Instituto de Parasitología y Biomedicina "López-Neyra", IPBLN-CSIC, Granada, Spain. Electronic address: [Email]


The human protozoan parasites Leishmania donovani and L. infantum are the causative agents of visceral leishmaniasis, as such, responsible for approximately 30,000 deaths annually. The available chemotherapeutic treatments are reduced to a few drugs whose effectiveness is limited by rising drug resistance/therapeutic failure, and noxious side-effects. Therefore, new therapeutic hits are needed. Compounds displaying the imidazo[2,1-a]isoindole skeleton have shown antichagasic, anti-HIV, antimalarial and anorectic activities. Here, we report the leishmanicidal activity of thirty one imidazo[2,1-a]isoindol-5-ol derivatives on promastigotes and intracellular amastigotes of L. donovani. Eight out of thirty one assayed compounds showed EC50 values ranging between 1 and 2 μM with selectivity indexes from 29 to 69 on infected THP-1 cells. Six compounds were selected for further elucidation of their leishmanicidal mechanism. In this regard, compound 29, the imidazoisoindolol with the highest activity on intracellular amastigotes, induced an early decrease of intracellular ATP levels, as well as mitochondrial depolarization, together with a partial plasma membrane destructuration, as assessed by transmission electron microscopy. Consequently, the inhibition of the energy metabolism of Leishmania plays an important role in the leishmanicidal mechanism of this compound, even when other additional targets cannot be ruled out. In all, the results supported the inclusion of the imidazoisoindole scaffold for the development of new leishmanicidal drugs.


Antileishmanial activity,Energy metabolism,Imidazoisoindolols,

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