Could Araucaria heterophylla resin extract be used as a new treatment for toxoplasmosis?

Nora L. El-Tantawy, Amal F. Soliman, Aida Abdel-Magied, Doaa Ghorab, Ashraf T. Khalil, Zein M. Naeem, Kuniyoshi Shimizu, Saleh H. El-Sharkawy

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8 Citations (Scopus)


Toxoplasmosis is a worldwide parasitic disease responsible for serious health problems to human. The currently available drugs used for toxoplasmosis treatment showed a limited efficacy and cause serious host toxicity. The in vitro screening for toxoplasmicidal activity of Araucaria heterophylla resin (AHR) extract and its major component 13-epi-cupressic acid (CUP) showed that both AHR (EC50 = 3.90) and CUP (EC50 = 3.69) have high toxoplasmicidal activity in comparison with standard cotrimoxazole (EC50 = 4.28). The antiprotozoal effects of AHR and CUP were investigated against acute and chronic toxoplasmosis using mice models. Two groups of Swiss albino mice were infected by RH Toxoplasma strain intraperitoneally and by Me49 strain orally. Both groups were treated with AHR and CUP in different doses. Their effects were evaluated by survival rate, peritoneal, spleen and liver parasite burdens, brain cyst burden, NO serum level and histopathological lesions. The ultrastructural changes of tachyzoites of acutely infected mice were studied using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). There is an evidence of toxoplasmicidal activity of AHR and CUP in acute and chronic experimental toxoplasmosis. In the acute model, mice treated with AHR and CUP showed prolonged survival rates, a significant decrease in the parasite density in peritoneal lavage and pathological insult in both liver and spleen compared with that of untreated ones. SEM results denote evident morphological alterations of treated tachyzoites. In chronic experimental toxoplasmosis, AHR and CUP treated groups could significantly reduce brain cyst burden by 96.05% and 98.02% respectively. This study indicates that AHR and CUP showed potent toxoplasmicidal activities experimentally and could be used as a potential natural nontoxic agent for treatment of toxoplasmosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-53
Number of pages10
JournalExperimental Parasitology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


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