An Insight into the Current Perspective and Potential Drug Targets for Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL)

Author(s): Rani Mansuri*, Jagbir Singh, Anupama Diwan

Journal Name: Current Drug Targets

Volume 21 , Issue 11 , 2020


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Graphical Abstract:


Abstract:

Leishmaniasis is one of the six entities on the list of most important diseases of the World Health Organization/Tropical Disease Research (WHO/TDR). After Malaria, it is one of the most prevalent and lethal parasitic diseases. VL is the fatal form of this disease, especially if left untreated. The drugs that are currently available for the treatment of VL are expensive, toxic, or no longer effective, especially in endemic regions. Currently, no vaccine has been developed to immunize humans against VL. The major problems with the current drugs are the development of resistance and their adverse effects. Therefore, there is a strong urge to research and design drugs that have better efficacies and low toxicities as compared to current chemotherapeutic drugs. Leishmania has various enzymes involved in its metabolic pathways, which are unique to either the same genus or trypanosomatids, making them a very suitable, attractive and novel target sites for drug development. One of the significant pathways unique to trypanosomatids is the thiol metabolism pathway, which is involved in the maintenance of redox homeostasis as well as protection of the parasite in the macrophage from oxidative stress-induced damage. In this review the several pathways, their essential enzymes as well as the proposed changes in the parasites due to drug resistance have been discussed to help to understand the most suitable drug target. The thiol metabolism pathway is discussed in detail, providing evidence of this pathway being the most favorable choice for drug targeting in VL.

Keywords: Leishmania, drug resistance, metabolic processes, drug target, lethal parasitic diseases. trypanosomatids.

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