Ascaris lumbricoides: an overview of therapeutic targets

Infect Disord Drug Targets. 2010 Oct;10(5):349-67. doi: 10.2174/187152610793180876.


A. lumbricoides is the largest of the common nematode parasites of man and has been associated with intestinal pathology, respiratory symptoms and malnutrition in children from endemic areas. Current anthelmintic treatments have proven to be safe. However, a reduced efficacy of single dose drugs has been reported. In veterinary practice, anthelmintic drug resistance is an irreversible problem. Thus, research and development of sensitive tools for early detection of drug resistance as well as new anthelmintic approaches are urgently needed. In this review, we summarized data providing information about current drug therapy against A. lumbricoides and other intestinal helminths, new drugs in experimental trials, future drugs perspectives and the identification of immunogenic parasite molecules that may be suitable vaccine targets. In addition to the WHO recommended drugs (albendazole, mebendazole, levamisole, and pyrantel pamoate), new anthelmintic alternatives such as tribendimidine and Nitazoxanide have proved to be safe and effective against A. lumbricoides and other soil-transmitted helminthiases in human trials. Also, some new drugs for veterinary use, monepantel and cyclooctadepsipeptides (e.g., PF1022A), will probably expand future drug spectrum for human treatments. The development of genomic technology has provided a great amount of available nematode DNA sequences, coupled with new gene function data that may lead to the identification of new drug targets through efficient mining of nematode genomic databases. On the other hand, the identification of nematode antigens involved in different parasite vital functions as well as immunomodulatory molecules in animals and humans may contribute to future studies of new therapeutic approaches.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antinematodal Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Ascariasis / drug therapy*
  • Ascariasis / parasitology
  • Ascaris lumbricoides / drug effects*
  • Ascaris lumbricoides / pathogenicity
  • Drug Delivery Systems / methods*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Humans
  • Phenylenediamines / administration & dosage


  • Antinematodal Agents
  • Phenylenediamines
  • tribendimidine