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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2013 Feb;187(2):91-7. doi: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2012.11.006. Epub 2012 Dec 29.

Effects of curcumin on the parasite Schistosoma mansoni: a transcriptomic approach.

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Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto, Departamento de Bioquímica e Imunologia, Universidade de São Paulo, Av. Bandeirantes, 3900, Monte Alegre, 14040-900 Ribeirão Preto, SP, Brazil.


Schistosomiasis remains a severe problem of public health in developing countries. Several reports show that praziquantel, the drug of choice for treating schistosomiasis, can select Schistosoma mansoni strains resistant to the drug. Thus, developing new drugs against this parasitosis is a highly desirable goal. Curcumin, a phenolic compound deriving from the plant Curcuma longa, has been shown to have anticancer, anti-inflammatory and antiparasitic effects. Recently, our group has demonstrated that curcumin causes the separation of S. mansoni adult worm pairs, eggs infertility, decreased oviposition and parasite viability, leading to death. In the present work, we have investigated the effects of curcumin on S. mansoni gene expression in adult worms through microarray analyses. Our results showed 2374 genes that were significantly and differentially expressed, of which 981 were up-regulated and 1393 were down-regulated. Among the differentially expressed genes there were components of important signaling pathways involved in embryogenesis and oogenesis such as Notch and TGF-β. Gene networks most significantly enriched with altered genes were identified, including a network related to Cellular Function and Maintenance, Molecular Transport, Organ Development, which is connected to the TGF-β signaling pathway and might be related to the effect of curcumin on pairing of adult worm pairs, egg production and viability of worms. qPCR validation experiments with 7 genes have confirmed the expression changes detected with arrays. Here we suggest that transcriptional repression observed in Notch and TGF-β pathways could explain the effects on oviposition and egg development described in the literature.

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