Trypanothione reductase and superoxide dismutase as current drug targets for Trypanosoma cruzi: an overview of compounds with activity against Chagas disease
It has been over a century since Carlos Chagas discovered the Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi) as the causative agent of Chagas disease (CD), a neglected tropical disease with several socioeconomic, epidemiological and human health repercussions. Currently, there are only two commercialized drugs to treat CD in acute phase, nifurtimox and benznidazol, with several adverse side effects. Thus, new orally available and safe drugs for this parasitic infection are urgently required. One strategy of great importance in new drug discovery programmes is based on the search of molecules enabling to interfere with enzymes involved in T. cruzi metabolism. This review will focus on two of the most promising targets for the therapy of CD: trypanothione reductase (TR) and the iron-containing superoxide dismutase (FeSOD), which protect the parasite against oxidative damage by reactive oxygen species. A brief comparison of the function, mechanism of action and the active sites between T. cruzi TR and Fe-SOD with their analogues enzymes in human, glutathione reductase (GR) and the corresponding SODs, will be discussed. This review will also summarize the recent development and structure-activity relationships of novel compounds reported for their ability to selectively inhibit these targets, aiming to define molecular bases in the search for new effective treatment of CD.