Blood fluke of the genus Schistosoma are the etiological agents of human schistosomiasis, an important neglected tropical disease that afflicts over 200 million people worldwide. The treatment for this disease relies heavily on a single drug, praziquantel. Recent reports of praziquantel resistance raise concerns about future control of the disease and show the importance of developing new antischistosomal drugs. Currently, natural products have been a good source for drug development. (+)-Limonene epoxide is a mixture of cis and trans isomers found in many plants. Here, we report the in vitro effect of this natural compound on the survival time of Schistosoma mansoni adult worms. In addition, we examined alterations on the tegumental surface of adult schistosomes by means of confocal laser scanning microscopy. The effects of (+)-limonene epoxide at 25 µg/mL on S. mansoni adult worms were similar to those of the positive control (praziquantel), with reduction in motility and death of all worms after 120 h. Confocal laser scanning microscopy revealed that (+)-limonene epoxide-mediated worm killing was associated with tegumental destruction. Our results, along with the low toxicity of the (+)-limonene epoxide, suggest that this natural compound might be promising for the development of new schistosomicidal agents.
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.