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Sci Rep. 2017 Mar 28;7:44998. doi: 10.1038/srep44998.

Biodegradable Polymeric Nanocapsules Prevent Cardiotoxicity of Anti-Trypanosomal Lychnopholide.

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Pharmaceutical Sciences Post-graduation Program (CiPharma), Escola de Farmácia, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
PHYMEDEXP, Inserm U1046, CNRS UMR 9214, Université de Montpellier - Montpellier, France.


Chagas disease is a neglected parasitic disease caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi. New antitrypanosomal options are desirable to prevent complications, including a high rate of cardiomyopathy. Recently, a natural substance, lychnopholide, has shown therapeutic potential, especially when encapsulated in biodegradable polymeric nanocapsules. However, little is known regarding possible adverse effects of lychnopholide. Here we show that repeated-dose intravenous administration of free lychnopholide (2.0 mg/kg/day) for 20 days caused cardiopathy and mortality in healthy C57BL/6 mice. Echocardiography revealed concentric left ventricular hypertrophy with preserved ejection fraction, diastolic dysfunction and chamber dilatation at end-stage. Single cardiomyocytes presented altered contractility and Ca2+ handling, with spontaneous Ca2+ waves in diastole. Acute in vitro lychnopholide application on cardiomyocytes from healthy mice also induced Ca2+ handling alterations with abnormal RyR2-mediated diastolic Ca2+ release. Strikingly, the encapsulation of lychnopholide prevented the cardiac alterations induced in vivo by the free form repeated doses. Nanocapsules alone had no adverse cardiac effects. Altogether, our data establish lychnopholide presented in nanocapsule form more firmly as a promising new drug candidate to cure Chagas disease with minimal cardiotoxicity. Our study also highlights the potential of nanotechnology not only to improve the efficacy of a drug but also to protect against its adverse effects.

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