In vitro activity of 'Mexican Arnica' Heterotheca inuloides Cass natural products and some derivatives against Giardia intestinalis.
SUMMARY Giardiasis is a gastrointestinal disease that affects humans and other animals caused by parasitic protists of the genus Giardia. Giardia intestinalis (Syn. Giardia lamblia; Giardia duodenalis) infections can cause acute or chronic diarrhoea, dehydration, abdominal discomfort and weight loss. Metronidazole is the most widely used drug for treating giardiasis. Although effective, metronidazol has undesirable secondary effects. Plants used in traditional medicine as antidiarrhoeals or antiparasitics may represent alternative sources for new compounds to treat giardiasis. Heterotheca inuloides Cass. (Asteraceae/Compositae) plant is widely used in Mexican traditional medicine. The following secondary metabolites were isolated from H. inuloides flowers: 7-hydroxy-3,4-dihydrocadalene (1), 7-hydroxycadalene (2), 3,7-dihydroxy-3(4H)-isocadalen-4-one (3), 1R,4R-hydroxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydrocadalen-15-oic acid (4), quercetin (5), quercetin-3,7,3'-trimethyl ether (6), quercetin-3,7,3',4'-tetramethyl ether (7) and eriodictyol-7,4'-dimethyl ether (8). The activity of these compounds against Giardia intestinalis trophozoites was assessed in vitro as was the activity of the semisynthetic compounds 7-acetoxy-3,4-dihydrocadalene (9), 7-benzoxy-3,4-dihydrocadalene (10), 7-acetoxycadalene (11), 7-benzoxycadalene (12), quercetin pentaacetate (13) and 7-hydroxycalamenene (14). Among these, 7-hydroxy-3,4-dihydrocadalene (1) and 7-hydroxycalamenene (14) were the most active, whereas the remaining compounds showed moderate or no activity. The G. intestinalis trophozoites exposed to compound 1 showed marked changes in cellular architecture along with ultrastructural disorganization. The aim of this study was to evaluate the giardicidal activity of selected H. inuloides metabolites and some semisynthetic derivatives using an in vitro experimental model of giardiasis.