Special Issue "Plant Natural Products against Human Parasites"
A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2013).
Interests: phytochemistry, molecular pharmacology of medicinal and toxic plants, alkaloids, evolution, chemical ecology
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Plants produce a high diversity of secondary metabolites (SM) which have evolved as means against herbivores and microbial pathogens SM additionally serve as UV protective and signal compounds. Because SM have been shaped and selected in million years of evolution, they are biologically active and therefore useful in medicine to treat health disorders and diseases. Especially in the treatment of infectious diseases SM have served an important role in human history but could also be of relevance in the future. During the evolution of humans a wide range of parasites have evolved, that uses us as a host organism. Usually a parasite will not kill its host (at least not immediately), as this would by a dead end for a parasite. However, most parasites are either unpleasant for us (think of lice and fleas) or weaken our health (most internal parasites). However, a few parasite infections, such as malaria, trypanosomiasis or Chagas can be deadly if the patients are not treated with adequate therapeutics. Because humans usually live in close proximity and often without good hygienic conditions a transmission of parasites within a human population is often facilitated.
Unfortunately, infections by endoparasites can hardly be prevented by vaccination. Even for malaria, one of the most common parasitic diseases which infects over 200 million people and kills more than 1 million per year, an effective vaccine is not (yet) available because the parasites have clever strategies to outcompete our immune system, for example by continuously changing their surface coat. Medicinal chemists have synthesized a number of drugs which can be used against many but by far not all endoparasites. A major problem is that many drugs have been developed many years ago and some parasitic strains have become resistant to them. The development of new antiparasitic drugs has not much priority in the pharmaceutical industries because many of the parasitic diseases occur in poor countries which cannot afford to pay a high price for the drugs. Thus an investment for drug development against parasitic diseases is a risky affair.
An alternative to synthetic drugs is the search of secondary metabolites or of plant extracts. Natural products still play an important role in therapy: Between 1981 and 2006 1184 new drugs were registered of which 28% were natural products or their derivatives. Another 24% of the new drugs had pharmacophores derived from natural products. This special issue of Molecules welcomes previously unpublished manuscripts covering all aspects of natural products (including extracts) in relationship to parasites and parasitic diseases, including phytochemistry, pharmacology, methodology development and applications.
Prof. Dr. Michael Wink
Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.
Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Molecules is an international peer-reviewed Open Access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.
- phytochemistry of antiparasitic natural products
- pharmacology of antiparasitic natural products
- molecular modes of action of antiparasitic natural products
- clinical experience with antiparasitic natural products
- new experimental systems to study antiparasitic natural products