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Acta Trop. 2015 May;145:31-8. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2015.02.002. Epub 2015 Feb 17.

Combinations of ascaridole, carvacrol, and caryophyllene oxide against Leishmania.

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Parasitology Department, Institute of Tropical Medicine "Pedro Kouri", Havana, Cuba.
Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria.
University of Alabama in Huntsville, Huntsville, USA.
Department of Chemistry, Institute of Pharmacy and Food, Havana University, Cuba.
Parasitology Department, Institute of Tropical Medicine "Pedro Kouri", Havana, Cuba. Electronic address:


To date there are no vaccines against Leishmania and chemotherapy remains the mainstay for the control of leishmaniasis. The drugs currently used for leishmaniasis therapy are significantly toxic, expensive, and result in a growing frequency of refractory infections. In this study, we evaluated the effect of combinations of the main components of essential oil from Chenopodium ambrosioides (ascaridole, carvacrol, and caryophyllene oxide) against Leishmaniaamazonensis. Anti-leishmanial effects of combinations of pure compounds were evaluated in vitro and the fractional inhibitory concentration (FIC) indices were calculated. BALB/c mice infected with L. amazonensis were treated with different concentrations of ascaridole-carvacrol combinations by intralesional doses every 4 days. Disease progression and parasite burden in infected tissues were determined. In vitro experiments showed a synergistic effect of the combination of ascaridole-carvacrol against promastigotes of Leishmania with a FIC index of 0.171, while indifferent activities were observed for ascaridole-caryophyllene oxide (FIC index=3.613) and carvacrol-caryophyllene oxide (FIC index=2.356) combinations. The fixed ratio method showed that a 1:4 ascaridole-carvacrol ratio produced a better anti-protozoal activity on promastigotes, lower cytotoxicity, and synergistic activity on intracellular amastigotes (FIC index=0.416). Significant differences (p<0.05) in lesion size and parasite burden were demonstrated in BALB/c mice experimentally infected and treated with the ascaridole-carvacrol combinations compared with control animals. Carvacrol showed significant higher anti-radical activity in the DPPH assay compared with caryophyllene oxide. Electron spin resonance spectroscopy in combination with spin trapping suggested the presence of carbon-centered radicals after activation of ascaridole by Fe(2+). The intensity of the signals is preferably decreased upon addition of carvacrol. The ascaridole-carvacrol combination could represent a future alternative to monotherapeutic anti-leishmanial agents.


Ascaridole; BALB; Carvacrol; Caryophyllene oxide; Drug combination; Leishmania amazonensis; c mice

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