Amoebiasis, a disease caused by Entamoeba histolytica, remains a major health problem that afflicts several million people worldwide. Moreover, in recent years there has been a rise in the number of reports with amebic brain abscess as well as in developed countries the microorganisms that cause diarrheal diseases are a cause of concern because of their potential to be used as bioterrorist agent. Metronidazole, an antiamoebic agent, is the drug of choice for treating amoebiasis in humans, but it has been shown to be both mutagenic and carcinogenic in bacteria and rodents respectively. The completely safe treatment for this disease does not exist at present and therefore newer and safer agents are required either from synthetic or natural resources. This review covers brief description of the disease, plant secondary metabolites and synthetic compounds that have exhibited moderate to high activity in vitro and in vivo bioassays against E. histolytica. The review also discusses some of the key biochemical targets that are unique and vital for the existence and growth of the parasite which are being further exploited so as to search for therapeutically active antiamoebic agents.
Keywords: Entamoeba histolytica, paromomycin, antiamoebic activity, antiplasmodial, Carbamic acid, Alkylphosphocholines
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