Animal trypanosomosis is a devastating parasitic disease that is of economic importance to livestock production. The infection includes animal African trypanosomosis, surra, and dourine. The treatment is based solely on few compounds that were discovered decades ago and which are associated with severe toxicity. Furthermore, it is likely that the parasite has developed resistance towards them. Thus, there is an urgent need for new, accessible, and less toxic drugs. Azithromycin is an antibiotic with documented efficacy against Toxoplasma, Babesia, and Plasmodium. The current study investigated its effects against animal trypanosomes. An in vitro system was used to determine the trypanocidal effects of azithromycin against Trypanosoma congolense, Trypanosoma brucei brucei, and Trypanosoma evansi, and cytotoxicity in Madin-Darby bovine kidney (MDBK) and NIH 3T3 cells. Furthermore, the trypanocidal effects of azithromycin were investigated in T. congolense-infected mice. In vitro, azithromycin had an IC50 of 0.19 ± 0.17; 3.69 ± 2.26; 1.81 ± 1.82 μg/mL against T. congolense, T. b. brucei, and T. evansi, respectively. No cytotoxic effects were observed in MDBK and NIH 3T3 cells. The efficacy of orally administered azithromycin was investigated in short-term and long-term treatment protocols. Although the short-term treatment protocol showed no curative effects, the survival rate of the mice was significantly prolonged (p < 0.001) in comparison to the control group. The long-term treatment yielded satisfying curative effects with doses of 300 and 400 mg/kg achieving 80 and 100% survival, respectively. In conclusion, long-term oral azithromycin treatment has trypanocidal effects against T. congolense.
Parasitology Research – Springer Journals
Published: Jul 4, 2017
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