Effects of artesunate, dihydroartemisinin, and an artesunate-dihydroartemisinin combination against Toxoplasma gondii.

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  • 1 Pharmaceutical Department of Parasitology and Medical Mycology, Claude Bernard University, Lyon, France.

The effect of artesunate and its metabolite dihydroartemisinin against the cerebral cysts of Toxoplasma gondii was studied. In vitro experiments were performed with the THP-1 cell line and showed an inhibition of parasite growth of approximately 70% with 0.1-0.5 microg/ml of dihydroartemisinin for 96 hr. However, with artesunate, dihydroartemisinin, or a combination (50:50) of them, the number of tachyzoites decreased approximately 40-50% and they appeared motionless. Fifty-eight to 72 hr after washing of the tachyzoites and THP-1 cells in culture, parasitized cells reappeared. In vivo, the 50:50 artesunate-dihydroartemisinin combination produced a decrease in cerebral cysts of approximately 40% after only 5 days of treatment. However, transplantations into naive mice using brains of treated mice gave positive results.