Background and objectives: Lymphatic filariasis is a neglected tropical disease caused by infection with filarial worms that are transmitted through mosquito bites. Globally, 120 million people are infected, with nearly 40 million people disfigured and disabled by complications such as severe swelling of the legs (elephantiasis) or scrotum (hydrocele). Current treatments (ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine) have limited effects on adult parasites and produce side effects; therefore, there is an urgent to search for new antifilarial agents. Numerous studies on the antifilarial activity of pure molecules have been reported accross the recent literature. The present study describes the current standings of potent antifilarial compounds against lymphatic filariasis.
Methods: A literature search was conducted for naturally occurring and synthetic antifilarial compounds by referencing textbooks and scientific databases (SciFinder, PubMed, Science Direct, Wiley, ACS, SciELO, Google Scholar, and Springer, among others) from their inception until September 2019.
Results: Numerous compounds have been reported to exhibit antifilarial acitivity in adult and microfilariae forms of the parasites responsible for lymphatic filariasis. In silico studies of active antifilarial compounds (ligands) showed molecular interactions over the protein targets (trehalose-6-phosphate phosphatase, thymidylate synthase, among others) of lymphatic filariasis, and supported the in vitro results.
Conclusion: With reference to in vitro antifilarial studies, there is evidence that natural and synthetic products can serve as basic scaffolds for the development of antifilarial agents. The optimization of the most potent antifilarial compounds can be further performed, follow by their in vivo studies.