There is renewed interest in natural products as a starting point for discovery of drugs for schistosomiasis. Recent studies have shown that phytol reveals interesting in vivo and in vitro antischistosomal properties against Schistosoma mansoni adult worms. Here, we report the in vitro antischistosomal activity of phytol against Schistosoma haematobium juvenile and adult worms and alterations on the tegumental surface of the worms by means of scanning electron microscopy. The assay, which was carried out with 6 concentrations (25, 50, 75, 100, 125, and 150 μg/ml) of phytol, has shown a promising activity in a dose and time-dependent manner. There was a significant decline in the motility of the worms and a mortality rate of 100% was found at 48 hr after they had been exposed to phytol in the concentration of 150 μg/ml. Male worms were more susceptible. On the ultrastructural level, phytol also induced tegumental peeling, disintegration of tubercles and spines in addition to morphological disfiguring of the oral and ventral suckers. This report provides the first evidence that phytol is able to kill S. haematobium of different ages, and emphasizes that it is a promising natural product that could be used for development of a new schistosomicidal agent.
Keywords: Schistosoma haematobium; adult; in vitro; juvenile; phytol; schistosomicidal activity.