Screening of acyl hydrazide proteinase inhibitors for antiparasitic activity against Trypanosoma brucei

Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2002 Mar;19(3):227-31. doi: 10.1016/s0924-8579(01)00488-5.


The major cysteine proteinase (brucipain) of Trypanosoma brucei is a target for chemotherapy of African Sleeping Sickness. We have screened a non-peptidyl acyl hydrazide proteinase inhibitor library of 500 compounds for inhibition of brucipain. Those 21 compounds with IC(50) values of <40 microM were tested for efficacy against bloodstream forms of T. brucei in cell culture. Eight acyl hydrazides showed 50% or more inhibition of trypanosome replication at <1 microM. The trypanocidal acitivity of the most effective compounds was comparable with those of the commercial antitrypanosomal drugs suramin and diminazene aceturate. However, these acyl hydrazides exhibited varying cytotoxicity towards human HL-60 cells and therefore, only less favourable selectivity indices compared with the commercially available drugs. Nevertheless, the data support the potential of acyl hydrazides as antitrypanosomal chemotherapeutic agents for treatment of sleeping sickness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • HL-60 Cells
  • Humans
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Molecular Structure
  • Protease Inhibitors / chemistry
  • Protease Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Protease Inhibitors / toxicity
  • Trypanocidal Agents / chemistry
  • Trypanocidal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Trypanocidal Agents / toxicity
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / drug effects*
  • Trypanosoma brucei brucei / growth & development
  • Trypanosomiasis, African / parasitology*


  • Protease Inhibitors
  • Trypanocidal Agents