Could beta-myrcene be an alternative to albendazole for the treatment of experimental cystic echinococcosis?

Acta Trop. 2018 Nov;187:5-12. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2018.07.013. Epub 2018 Jul 21.


Echinococcus granulosus causes hydatidosis or cystic echinococcosis in humans and livestock. In humans, this disease can be managed with surgery, percutaneous treatment, chemotherapy and/or observation. The chemotherapeutic agents used and approved for treatment of hydatidosis are benzimidazoles. Because of the difficulties in achieving successful treatment, considerable efforts have been made to find new natural compounds against hydatid disease. Beta-myrcene is a monoterpene presented in the essential oils of different plants. It is the principal component of essential oil of Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary). The goal of the present study was to evaluate the in vitro effects of beta-myrcene against germinal cells, protoscoleces and murine cyst of E. granulosus, as well also, investigate its chemoprophylactic activity in a murine model of cystic echinococcosis. For the in vitro assays, the parasites were incubated with beta-myrcene at 10, 5 and 1 μg/mL. The treatments were dose and time-dependent, and consistent with the observed morphological alterations. In the chemoprophylactic efficacy study, the effect of beta-myrcene was similar to albendazole, the reference drug for human echinococcosis treatment.

Keywords: Beta-myrcene; Cystic echinococcosis; Echinococcus granulosus; Essential oil; Experimental chemotherapy; Larval stage.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Albendazole / therapeutic use*
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cysts / drug therapy*
  • Echinococcosis / drug therapy*
  • Echinococcus granulosus / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Animal
  • Monoterpenes / therapeutic use*
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology
  • Oils, Volatile / therapeutic use
  • Plant Oils / pharmacology
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*


  • Acyclic Monoterpenes
  • Monoterpenes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils
  • beta-myrcene
  • Albendazole