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Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2014 Jan;193(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2013.12.002. Epub 2014 Jan 8.

Nitazoxanide: nematicidal mode of action and drug combination studies.

Author information

1
Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA.
2
Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Biological Sciences, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, USA. Electronic address: raroian@ucsd.edu.

Abstract

Intestinal nematodes or roundworms (aka soil-transmitted helminths or STHs) cause great disease. They infect upwards of two billion people, leading to high morbidity and a range of health problems, especially in infected children and pregnant women. Development of resistance to the two main classes of drugs used to treat intestinal nematode infections of humans has been reported. To fight STH infections, we need new and more effective drugs and ways to improve the efficacy of the old drugs. One promising alternative drug is nitazoxanide (NTZ). NTZ, approved for treating human protozoan infections, was serendipitously shown to have therapeutic activity against STHs. However, its mechanism of action against nematodes is not known. Using the laboratory nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, we show that NTZ acts on the nematodes through avr-14, an alpha-type subunit of a glutamate-gated chloride ion channel known for its role in ivermectin susceptibility. In addition, a forward genetic screen to select C. elegans mutants resistant to NTZ resulted in isolation of two NTZ resistant mutants that are not in avr-14, suggesting that additional mechanisms are involved in resistance to NTZ. We found that NTZ combines synergistically with other classes of anthelmintic drugs, i.e. albendazole and pyrantel, making it a good candidate for further studies on its use in drug combination therapy of STH infections. Given NTZ acts against a wide range of nematode parasites, our findings also validate avr-14 as an excellent target for pan-STH therapy.

KEYWORDS:

Anthelmintic; Caenorhabditis elegans; Glutamate-gated chloride channels; Nitazoxanide; Soil-transmitted helminths; avr-14

PMID:
24412397
PMCID:
PMC3972318
DOI:
10.1016/j.molbiopara.2013.12.002
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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