Treatment of African Trypanosomiasis with Cordycepin and Adenosine Deaminase Inhibitors in a Mouse Model

Rottenberg, Martin E.; Masocha, Willias; Ferella, Marcela; Petitto-Assis, Fabricio; Goto, Hiro; Kristensson, Krister; McCaffrey, Ronald; Wigzell, Hans
November 2005
Journal of Infectious Diseases;11/1/2005, Vol. 192 Issue 9, p1658
Academic Journal
There is an urgent need to discontinue the use of highly toxic compounds still in use for treatment of the encephalitic stage of human African trypanosomiasis (HAT). We show here that intraperitoneal injection of the adenosine analogue cordycepin (3'-deoxyadenosine), together with an adenosine deaminase (ADA) inhibitor (coformycin or deoxycoformycin), cures Trypanosoma brucei brucei infection in mice. Treatment was also effective at a stage when the trypanosomes had penetrated into the brain parenchyma, as determined by double immunolabeling of parasites and cerebral vessel endothelial cells in brain sections. At this stage, the parasites were eliminated not only from the blood but also from the brain parenchyma. In parallel with the elimination of parasites, in treated mice, the number of CD45+ inflammatory cells in the brain parenchyma was reduced. Treatment was not immunosuppressive. In vitro incubation with cordycepin reduced the growth of T. brucci brucei and T. cruzi, as well as Leishmania major and L. amazonensis. Administration of cordycepin plus deoxycofomycin to T. cruzi-infected mice also significantly reduced parasitemia. Accordingly, we propose nucleoside analogues resistant to ADA as candidates for treatment of late-stage HAT.


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