Oxidative stress plays major role in mediating apoptosis in filarial nematode Setaria cervi in the presence of trans-stilbene derivatives

Free Radic Biol Med. 2016 Apr:93:130-44. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2016.01.027. Epub 2016 Feb 3.


Lymphatic filariasis, affecting around 120 million people in 80 countries worldwide, is an extremely painful disease and caused permanent and long term disability. Owing to its alarming prevalence there is immediate need for development of new therapeutics. A series of trans-stilbene derivatives were synthesized using aqueous reaction condition showing potential as antifilarial agents demonstrated in vitro. MTT reduction assay and dye exclusion test were performed to evaluate the micro and macrofilaricidal potential of these compounds. Amid 20 trans-stilbene derivatives together with Resveratrol (RSV), a multifunctional natural product was screened; nine compounds (28, 29, 33, 35, 36, 38, 39, 41 and 42) have showed promising micro and macrofilaricidal activities and four of them (28, 39, 41 and 42) showed better effectiveness than RSV. In the treated parasites apoptosis was established by DNA laddering, in situ DNA fragmentation and FACS analysis. The generation of ROS in the treated parasites was indicated by the depletion in the level of GSH, GR and GST activity and elevation of SOD, catalase, GPx activity and superoxide anion and H2O2 level. Along with the ROS generation and oxidative stress, the decreased expression of anti-apoptotic ced-9 gene and increased expression of nematode specific pro-apoptotic genes, egl-1, ced-4 and ced-3 at the level of transcription and translation level; the up-regulation of caspase-3 activity and involvement of caspase-8,9,3, cytochrome-c and PARP were also observed and which denotes the probable existence of both extrinsic and intrinsic pathways apoptosis in parasitic nematodes. This observation is reported first time and thus it confirmed the mode of action and effectiveness of the compounds. Further, the comparative bioavailability-pharmacokinetics studies showed that compound 28 possesses comparable properties with Ivermectin. This study will certainly intensify our understanding of the pharmacological importance of trans-stilbenes as an anti-filarial agent.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Bioavailability; Intrinsic and extrinsic pathways; Pharmacokinetics; Reactive oxygen species; Resveratrol; Setaria cervi; Trans-stilbene derivatives.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Caspases / biosynthesis
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • DNA Fragmentation / drug effects
  • Elephantiasis, Filarial / drug therapy*
  • Elephantiasis, Filarial / metabolism
  • Elephantiasis, Filarial / parasitology
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Resveratrol
  • Setaria Nematode / drug effects*
  • Setaria Nematode / pathogenicity
  • Stilbenes / chemical synthesis
  • Stilbenes / chemistry
  • Stilbenes / pharmacology*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Stilbenes
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Caspases
  • Resveratrol