Ligand-based design, synthesis and biochemical evaluation of potent and selective inhibitors of Schistosoma mansoni dihydroorotate dehydrogenase

Eur J Med Chem. 2019 Apr 1;167:357-366. doi: 10.1016/j.ejmech.2019.02.018. Epub 2019 Feb 8.


Schistosomiasis ranks second only to malaria as the most common parasitic disease worldwide. 700 million people are at risk and 240 million are already infected. Praziquantel is the anthelmintic of choice but decreasing efficacy has already been documented. In this work, we exploited the inhibition of Schistosoma mansoni dihydroorotate dehydrogenase (SmDHODH) as a strategy to develop new therapeutics to fight schistosomiasis. A series of quinones (atovaquone derivatives and precursors) was evaluated regarding potency and selectivity against both SmDHODH and human DHODH. The best compound identified is 17 (2-hydroxy-3-isopentylnaphthalene-1,4-dione) with IC50 = 23 ± 4 nM and selectivity index of 30.83. Some of the new compounds are useful pharmacological tools and represent new lead structures for further optimization.

Keywords: Inhibitor; Naphthoquinones; Schistosomiasis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthelmintics / chemistry*
  • Anthelmintics / pharmacology
  • Drug Design*
  • Humans
  • Ligands
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-CH Group Donors / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Quinones / chemical synthesis
  • Quinones / pharmacology
  • Schistosoma mansoni / enzymology*
  • Schistosomiasis mansoni / drug therapy*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Anthelmintics
  • Ligands
  • Quinones
  • Oxidoreductases Acting on CH-CH Group Donors
  • dihydroorotate dehydrogenase