The Promise of Antimicrobial Peptides for Treatment of Human Schistosomiasis
Schistosomiasis sometimes referred to as bilharzia ranks high among the common neglected human tropical
diseases. Parasitic trematode flatworm belonging to the genus Schistosoma is responsible for this acute and chronic disease.
Its prevalence is rapidly increasing in the tropical regions worldwide; however, its economic and global health impact
is grossly underestimated. There are five recognized species of schistosome parasitizing humans but the common
species causing the disease are S. haematobium, S. japonicum and S. mansoni. Over the years, praziquantel, due to its advantage
over other drugs employed in the treatment of schistosomiasis especially because of its effectiveness against all
schistosoma species has remained the drug of choice. Unfortunately, due to drug pressure, some reports of praziquantel
resistance in the treatment of some strains of S. haematobium and S. mansoni have been documented in literature. This has
necessitated the search for novel anti-schistosomal agents as alternatives to praziquantel treatment. Currently, antimicrobial
peptides are gaining prominence as possible sources of novel drugs in the control and treatment of schistosomiasis. A
major driving force for evaluating antimicrobial peptides is their general diverse therapeutic applications, basically due to
their size and properties as well as their broad spectrum of activities. Therefore, antimicrobial peptides are attractive candidates
with promising results that may overcome drug resistance problems in search for novel therapeutic agents for the
control and treatment of schistosomiasis.
Keywords: Antimicrobial peptides, cercaria, eggs, neglected tropical diseases, praziquantel, schistosomiasis, trematode.
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