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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 May;56(5):2428-34. doi: 10.1128/AAC.06386-11. Epub 2012 Feb 6.

Induction of oxidative stress in Trypanosoma brucei by the antitrypanosomal dihydroquinoline OSU-40.

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  • 1Division of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA.


Dihydroquinoline derivative OSU-40 (1-benzyl-1,2-dihydro-2,2,4-trimethylquinolin-6-yl acetate) is selectively potent against Trypanosma brucei rhodesiense in vitro (50% inhibitory concentration [IC(50)], 14 nM; selectivity index, 1,700) and has been proposed to cause the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in African trypanosomes (J. Fotie et al., J. Med. Chem. 53:966-982, 2010). In the present study, we sought to provide further support for the hypothesis that OSU-40 kills trypanosomes through oxidative stress. Inducible RNA interference (RNAi) was applied to downregulate key enzymes in parasite antioxidant defense, including T. brucei trypanothione synthetase (TbTryS) and superoxide dismutase B (TbSODB). Both TbTryS RNAi-induced and TbSODB RNAi-induced cells showed impaired growth and increased sensitivity toward OSU-40 by 2.4-fold and 3.4-fold, respectively. Decreased expression of key parasite antioxidant enzymes was thus associated with increased sensitivity to OSU-40, consistent with the hypothesis that OSU-40 acts through oxidative stress. Finally, the dose-dependent formation of free radicals was observed after incubation of T. brucei with OSU-40 utilizing electron spin resonance (ESR) spectroscopy. These data support the notion that the mode of antitrypanosomal action for this class of compounds is to induce oxidative stress.

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