Microorganisms as a Potential Source of Molecules to Control Trypanosomatid Diseases

Molecules. 2021 Mar 4;26(5):1388. doi: 10.3390/molecules26051388.


Trypanosomatids are the causative agents of leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis, which affect about 20 million people in the world's poorest countries, leading to 95,000 deaths per year. They are often associated with malnutrition, weak immune systems, low quality housing, and population migration. They are generally recognized as neglected tropical diseases. New drugs against these parasitic protozoa are urgently needed to counteract drug resistance, toxicity, and the high cost of commercially available drugs. Microbial bioprospecting for new molecules may play a crucial role in developing a new generation of antiparasitic drugs. This article reviews the current state of the available literature on chemically defined metabolites of microbial origin that have demonstrated antitrypanosomatid activity. In this review, bacterial and fungal metabolites are presented; they originate from a range of microorganisms, including cyanobacteria, heterotrophic bacteria, and filamentous fungi. We hope to provide a useful overview for future research to identify hits that may become the lead compounds needed to accelerate the discovery of new drugs against trypanosomatids.

Keywords: antitrypanosomatid agents; leishmaniasis; microbial metabolites; trypanosomiasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiprotozoal Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bacteria / chemistry*
  • Fungi / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Leishmaniasis / drug therapy*
  • Leishmaniasis / metabolism
  • Trypanosomatina / physiology*
  • Trypanosomiasis / drug therapy*
  • Trypanosomiasis / metabolism


  • Antiprotozoal Agents