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Molecules 2014, 19(9), 15058-15074; doi:10.3390/molecules190915058

New Uses for Old Drugs: The Tale of Artemisinin Derivatives in the Elimination of Schistosomiasis Japonica in China

1,2,3,†
,
1,2,3,†
,
4
,
4
,
5
,
1,2,3,* and 1,2,3,*
1
Jiangsu Institute of Parasitic Diseases, 117 Yangxiang, Meiyuan, Wuxi 214064, China
2
Key Laboratory on Technology for Parasitic Disease Prevention and Control, National Health and Family Planning Commission, 117 Yangxiang, Meiyuan, Wuxi 214064, China
3
Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Molecular Biology of Parasites, 117 Yangxiang, Meiyuan, Wuxi 214064, China
4
Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Texas Medical Branch, 301 University Blvd, Galveston, TX 77555, USA
5
Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, 6431 Fannin St, Houston, TX 77030, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 29 July 2014 / Revised: 9 September 2014 / Accepted: 10 September 2014 / Published: 19 September 2014
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Abstract

Artemisinin (qinghaosu), extracted from the Chinese herb Artemisia annua L. in 1972, and its three major derivatives—artemether, artesunate and dihydroartemisinin—were firstly identified as antimalarials and found active against all species of the malaria parasite. Since the early 1980s, artemisinin and its derivatives have been found efficacious against Schistosoma spp., notably larval parasites, and artemisinin derivatives have played a critical role in the prevention and treatment of human schistosomiasis in China. Currently, China is moving towards the progress of schistosomiasis elimination. However, the potential development of praziquantel resistance may pose a great threat to the progress of elimination of schistosomiasis japonica in China. Fortunately, these three major artemisinin derivatives also exhibit actions against adult parasites, and reduced sensitivity to artemether, artesunate and dihydroartemisinin has been detected in praziquantel-resistant S. japonicum. In this review, we describe the application of artemisinin derivatives in the prevention and treatment of schistosomiasis japonica in China, so as to provide tools for the global agenda of schistosomiasis elimination. In addition to antimalarial and antischistosomal actions, they also show activities against other parasites and multiple cancers. Artemisinin derivatives, as old drugs identified firstly as antimalarials, continue to create new stories. View Full-Text
Keywords: schistosomiasis japonica; artemisinin; artemether; artesunate; dihydroartemisinin; elimination; China schistosomiasis japonica; artemisinin; artemether; artesunate; dihydroartemisinin; elimination; China
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Liu, Y.-X.; Wu, W.; Liang, Y.-J.; Jie, Z.-L.; Wang, H.; Wang, W.; Huang, Y.-X. New Uses for Old Drugs: The Tale of Artemisinin Derivatives in the Elimination of Schistosomiasis Japonica in China. Molecules 2014, 19, 15058-15074.

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