Salicylanilide inhibitors of Toxoplasma gondii

Alina Fomovska, Richard D. Wood*, Ernest Mui, Jitenter P. Dubey, Leandra R. Ferreira, Mark R. Hickman, Patricia J. Lee, Susan E. Leed, Jennifer M. Auschwitz, William J. Welsh*, Caroline Sommerville, Stuart Woods, Craig Roberts, Rima McLeod*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) is an apicomplexan parasite that can cause eye disease, brain disease, and death, especially in congenitally infected and immune-compromised people. Novel medicines effective against both active and latent forms of the parasite are greatly needed. The current study focused on the discovery of such medicines by exploring a family of potential inhibitors whose antiapicomplexan activity has not been previously reported. Initial screening efforts revealed that niclosamide, a drug approved for anthelmintic use, possessed promising activity in vitro against T. gondii. This observation inspired the evaluation of the activity of a series of salicylanilides and derivatives. Several inhibitors with activities in the nanomolar range with no appreciable in vitro toxicity to human cells were identified. An initial structure–activity relationship was explored. Four compounds were selected for evaluation in an in vivo model of infection, and two derivatives with potentially enhanced pharmacological parameters demonstrated the best activity profiles.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8375-8391
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Medicinal Chemistry
Issue number19
Early online date26 Sep 2012
Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


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