In vitro activity of rhinacanthin analogues against drug resistant Plasmodium falciparum isolates from Northeast Thailand.
Chaorattanakawee S., Kosaisavee V., Bunsermyos W., Aonsri C., Imaram W., Suwannasin K., Kunasol C., Thamnurak C., Boonyalai N., Saunders D., Dondorp AM., Mungthin M., Imwong M.
BACKGROUND: New anti-malarial drugs are needed urgently to address the increasing challenges of drug-resistant falciparum malaria. Two rhinacanthin analogues containing a naphthoquinone moiety resembling atovaquone showed promising in-vitro activity against a P. falciparum laboratory reference strain (K1). The anti-malarial activity of these 2 compounds was further evaluated for P. falciparum field isolates from an area of multi-drug resistance in Northeast Thailand. METHODS: Using a pLDH enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, four P. falciparum isolates from Northeast Thailand in 2018 were tested for in vitro sensitivity to the two synthetic rhinacanthin analogues 1 and 2 as well as established anti-malarials. Mutations in the P. falciparum cytochrome b gene, a marker for atovaquone (ATQ) resistance, were genotyped in all four field isolates as well as 100 other clinical isolates from the same area using PCR-artificial Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphisms. Pfkelch13 mutations, a marker for artemisinin (ART) resistance, were also examined in all isolates. RESULTS: The 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of P. falciparum field isolates for rhinacanthin analogue 1 was 321.9-791.1 nM (median = 403.1 nM). Parasites were more sensitive to analogue 2: IC50 48.6-63.3 nM (median = 52.2 nM). Similar results were obtained against P. falciparum reference laboratory strains 3D7 and W2. The ART-resistant IPC-5202 laboratory strain was more sensitive to these compounds with a median IC50 45.9 and 3.3 nM for rhinacanthin analogues 1 and 2, respectively. The ATQ-resistant C2B laboratory strain showed high-grade resistance towards both compounds (IC50 > 15,000 nM), and there was a strong positive correlation between the IC50 values for these compounds and ATQ (r = 0.83-0.97, P