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Publication Date


Document Type

Honors Project




Filariasis-Treatment, Pharmacology, Nematodes as carriers of disease, Parasites, Medicine, Chinese, Lymphatic filariasis, Pharmaceutical sciences, Traditional Chinese medicine, Nematodes, Punicalin, Quisqualis indica


Lymphatic filariasis, the second leading cause of long-term disability, is a mosquitoborne parasitic disease that affects over 120 million people worldwide. The parasites, Wuchereria bancrofti, Brugia malayi, and Brugia timori, reside in the lymphatic system and can cause lymphedema and elephantiasis. This disease is currently treated by mass drug administration using albendazole, ivermectin, and diethylcarbamazine, which unfortunately, have limited bioactivities, potential of developing resistance, and are associated with adverse side effects, resulting in a sub-optimal compliance. Quisqualis indica was proposed in this study to be a source of drug candidates to treat lymphatic filariasis because it has been used against parasitic infections in traditional Chinese medicine for over 1700 years. Its aqueous extract (2.62, 2.94, and 3.24 mg/mL) was shown effective in eliminating parasites of all three life stages (L3, adult male, and adult female). The mortality rate related positively to both extract concentration and time post-treatment, which suggested the extract's anthelmintic activity. The extract was most potent against the adult female stage, with 100% mortality reached by 32 hours post-treatment (2.62 mg/mL), which was very promising because the adult (especially the female) is the ideal stage to target as adult nematodes are responsible for most of the disease's symptoms and play essential roles in the transmission of the parasite. The active component responsible for the observed antifilarial activity was proposed to be punicalin. Punicalin (0.15 mg/mL) killed the nematodes more potently than the Q. indica aqueous extract, with 100% death of adult males reached by hour 20, 58.3% faster than that observed when treated with the extract (hour 48). Both agents were well tolerated by brine shrimp (Artemia salina) within 72 hours post-treatment, indicating a lack of acute toxicity, which suggested the possibility of drug development from Quisqualis indica and punicalin.




83 p. : illustrations (some color). Honors Project-Smith College, 2014. Includes bibliographical references (pages 77-80)