Antiprotozoal activities of phospholipid analogues

Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2003 Feb;126(2):165-72. doi: 10.1016/s0166-6851(02)00283-9.


The antiprotozoal activity of phospholipid analogues, originally developed as anti-cancer drugs, has been determined in the past decade. The most susceptible parasites are Leishmania spp. and Trypanosoma cruzi with activity also shown against Trypanosoma brucei spp., Entamoeba histolytica and Acanthamoeba spp. Miltefosine, an alkylphosphocholine, was registered for the oral treatment of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in India in March 2002. This review will focus on the biological activities of phospholipid analogues. Biochemical and molecular targets and mechanism(s) of action have been studied extensively in tumor cells but have not been determined in protozoa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / chemistry
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Leishmania / drug effects
  • Parasitic Sensitivity Tests
  • Phospholipid Ethers / chemistry
  • Phospholipid Ethers / pharmacology
  • Phospholipids / chemistry
  • Phospholipids / pharmacology*
  • Phospholipids / therapeutic use
  • Phosphorylcholine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Phosphorylcholine / chemistry
  • Phosphorylcholine / pharmacology
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Trypanosoma / drug effects


  • Antiprotozoal Agents
  • Phospholipid Ethers
  • Phospholipids
  • Phosphorylcholine
  • edelfosine
  • miltefosine
  • ilmofosine