Frédéric Frézard, Cynthia Demicheli, Kelly C. Kato, Priscila G. Reis, Edgar H. Lizarazo-Jaimes
February 21, 2013
Antimonial drugs have been used for a century in the therapy of the parasitic disease leishmaniasis. Even though pentavalent antimonials are still first-line drugs, they exhibit several limitations, including severe side effects, the need for daily parenteral administration and drug resistance. The molecular structure of pentavalent antimonials, their metabolism and mechanism of action, are still being investigated. Previous studies suggest that pentavalent antimony acts as a prodrug which is converted to the active and more toxic trivalent antimony. Other works support the direct involvement of pentavalent antimony. Recent data indicate that thiols and ribose-containing biomolecules may mediate the pharmacological action of these drugs. Trypanothione reductase and zinc-finger proteins were identified as possible molecular targets. This review summarizes the progress achieved to date on the chemistry of antimonial drugs in biological systems.