Pentacyclic nitrofurans that rapidly kill nifurtimox-resistant trypanosomes

David F. Bruhn, Susan Wyllie, Adaris Rodríguez-Cortés, Angela K. Carrillo, Rakesh, R. Kiplin Guy, Alan H. Fairlamb, Richard E. Lee (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: In response to reports of Trypanosoma brucei resistance to the nitroaromatic drug nifurtimox, we evaluated the potential of antituberculosis nitrofuran isoxazolines as inhibitors of trypanosome growth. 

Methods: The susceptibility of T. brucei brucei was assessed in vitro. The lowest effective concentration to inhibit growth (EC90) against drug-susceptible and -resistant parasites, time-kill kinetics, reversibility of inhibition and propensity for P-glycoprotein-mediated exclusion from the blood-brain barrier were determined. 

Results: Nitrofuran isoxazolines were potent inhibitors of T. brucei brucei proliferation at nanomolar concentrations, with pentacyclic nitrofurans being 100-fold more potent than nifurtimox. Activity was sustained against nifurtimox-resistant parasites, suggesting the possibility of a unique mechanism of activation and potential for use in the treatment of drug-resistant infections. Exposure of parasites to the maximum concentrations of Compound 15 achieved in vivo with oral dosing yielded >2 logs of irreversible killing in

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdkv417
Pages (from-to)956-963
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
Issue number4
Early online date18 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2016


  • nifurtimox
  • nitrofurans
  • parasites
  • trypanosoma
  • kinetics


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