Owing to the rapid emergence of multi-resistant strains of Plasmodium spp. (the causative agents of malaria) and the limitations of drugs used against Toxoplasma gondii (an important opportunistic pathogen associated with AIDS and congenital birth defects), the discovery of new therapeutical targets and the development of new drugs are needed. The presence of the prokaryotic-like organelle in apicomplexan parasites (i.e. plastids), which comprise these major human pathogens, may represent a unique target for antibiotics against these protozoa. Quinolones which are known to be highly potent against bacteria were also found to specifically disrupt these parasites. They inhibit DNA replication by interacting with two essential bacterial type II topoisomerases, DNA gyrase and topoisomerase IV. There are some clues that quinolones act on plastids with a similar mechanism of action. After a brief presentation of plasmodium and toxoplasma dedicated to their life cycle, the chemotherapies presently used in clinics to fight against these protozoa and the potential new targets and drugs, we will focus our attention on their plastid which is one of these promising new targets. Then, we will present the various drugs and generations of quinolones, the leading molecules, and their inhibitory effects against these parasites together with their pharmacological properties that have been established from in vitro and in vivo studies. We will also discuss their possible mode of action.
Keywords: parasite, malaria, toxoplasmosis, chemotherapy, prophylaxis, apicoplast, plastid, fluoroquinolone, topoisomerase, antiparasitical drug
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