In partnership with the Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV), we screened a collection (‘Stasis Box’) of 400 compounds (which have been in clinical development but have not been approved for illnesses other than neglected infectious diseases) for inhibitory activity against Haemonchus contortus, in order to attempt to repurpose some of the compounds to parasitic nematodes.
We assessed the inhibition of compounds on the motility and/or development of exsheathed third-stage (xL3s) and fourth-stage (L4) larvae of H. contortus using a whole-organism screening assay.
In the primary screen, we identified compound MMV690767 (also known as SNS-032) that inhibited xL3 motility by ~70% at a concentration of 20 μM after 72 h as well as compound MMV079840 (also known as AG-1295), which induced a coiled xL3 phenotype, with ~50% inhibition on xL3 motility. Subsequently, we showed that SNS-032 (IC50 = 12.4 μM) and AG-1295 (IC50 = 9.92 ± 1.86 μM) had a similar potency to inhibit xL3 motility. Although neither SNS-032 nor AG-1295 had a detectable inhibitory activity on L4 motility, both compounds inhibited L4 development (IC50 values = 41.24 μM and 7.75 ± 0.94 μM for SNS-032 and AG-1295, respectively). The assessment of the two compounds for toxic effects on normal human breast epithelial (MCF10A) cells revealed that AG-1295 had limited cytotoxicity (IC50 > 100 μM), whereas SNS-032 was quite toxic to the epithelial cells (IC50 = 1.27 μM).
Although the two kinase inhibitors, SNS-032 and AG-1295, had moderate inhibitory activity on the motility or development of xL3s or L4s of H. contortus in vitro, further work needs to be undertaken to chemically alter these entities to achieve the potency and selectivity required for them to become nematocidal or nematostatic candidates.
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