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Review
, 112 (11), 3723-40

Mefloquine, a New Type of Compound Against Schistosomes and Other Helminthes in Experimental Studies

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Review

Mefloquine, a New Type of Compound Against Schistosomes and Other Helminthes in Experimental Studies

Shu-hua Xiao. Parasitol Res.

Abstract

Up to date, schistosomiasis is still prevalent worldwide. It is estimated that more than 200 million individuals are infected, and 120 million suffer from clinical morbidity. Facing such huge cases of schistosomiasis, only heavy reliance on a single praziquantel for schistosomiasis control does not adapt and may promote the selection and spread of drug-resistant parasites. Therefore, it is an urgent need to develop the new antischistosomal drug. In 2008-2009, the antimalarial drug mefloquine, an arylaminoalcohol compound, has been found to be effective against schistosomes. According to the experimental studies, the deepest impression on the antischistosomal properties of mefloquine can be summarized as following points: (1) single dose of mefloquine possesses potential effect against three major species of schistosomes (Schistosoma mansoni, Schistosoma haematobium, and Schistosoma japonicum) infecting humans; (2) the drug displays similar effects against developing stages of juvenile and adult schistosomes, which are superior to that of artemisinins and praziquantel; (3) in vitro mefloquine exerts direct killing effect on juvenile and adult schistosomes, while in vivo, the efficacy of the drug is independent to host immune response, (4) mefloquine causes extensive and severe morphological, histopathological, and ultrastructural damage to adult and juvenile schistosomes, particularly, the worm tegument, musculature, gut, and vitelline glands of female worms are the key sites attacked by the drug; (5) combined treatment with mefloquine and praziquantel, or artemisinins shows synergistic effect against schistosome in experimental therapy,while in initially clinical trial, mefloquine in combination with artesunate also exhibits higher cure rates against schistosomiasis hematobia and schistosomiasis mansoni, and (6) several mefloquine-related arylmethanols exhibit potential effect against schistosomes in vivo, which is a useful clue helpful for development of new antischistosomal compound. In the present review, we have summarized the major results published in recent years, and the significance as well as the prospect for the future study of mefloquine have been discussed briefly.

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