Parasitology Research

, Volume 117, Issue 5, pp 1573–1580 | Cite as

Anti-Trichomonas vaginalis activity of ursolic acid derivative: a promising alternative

  • Fernanda Gobbi Bitencourt
  • Patrícia de Brum Vieira
  • Lucia Collares Meirelles
  • Graziela Vargas Rigo
  • Elenilson Figueiredo da Silva
  • Simone Cristina Baggio Gnoatto
  • Tiana Tasca
Original Paper


Trichomonas vaginalis is an extracellular parasite that binds to the epithelium of the human urogenital tract and causes the sexually transmitted infection, trichomoniasis. In view of increased resistance to drugs belonging to the 5-nitroimidazole class, new treatment alternatives are urgently needed. In this study, eight semisynthetized triterpene derivatives were evaluated for in vitro anti-T. vaginalis activity. Ursolic acid and its derivative, 3-oxime-urs-12-en-28-oic-ursolic acid (9), presented the best anti-T. vaginalis activity when compared to other derivatives, with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) at 25 μM. Moreover, 9 was active against several T. vaginalis fresh clinical isolates. Hemolysis assay demonstrated that 9 presented a low hemolytic effect. Importantly, 25 μM 9 was not cytotoxic against the Vero cell lineage. Finally, we demonstrated that compound 9 acts synergistically with metronidazole against a T. vaginalis metronidazole-resistant isolate. This report reveals the high potential of the triterpenoid derivative 9 as trichomonicidal agent.


Triterpenes Trichomonas vaginalis Ursolic acid Betulinic acid Synthetic derivatives 



The authors thank LRNANO/CNANO for the NMR analysis.

Funding information

This work received financial support from REDE NANOBIOTEC-CAPES/Brazil (grant 23038.019022/2009-68), CNPq/Brazil (grant 474930/2012-2), and INCT-IF. Patrícia B. Vieira receives scholarship from CAPES; Tiana Tasca received researcher fellowship (grant 307447/2014-6) from CNPq.

Compliance with ethical standards

The Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul Research Ethical Committee approved documents, procedures, and project under authorization CAAE 47423415.5.0000.5347 and 18923. The informed consent for each participant was approved by the Institutional Review Board.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

436_2018_5839_MOESM1_ESM.doc (26 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 26 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fernanda Gobbi Bitencourt
    • 1
  • Patrícia de Brum Vieira
    • 1
  • Lucia Collares Meirelles
    • 1
  • Graziela Vargas Rigo
    • 1
  • Elenilson Figueiredo da Silva
    • 2
  • Simone Cristina Baggio Gnoatto
    • 2
  • Tiana Tasca
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratório de Pesquisa em Parasitologia, Faculdade de FarmáciaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Fitoquímica e Síntese Orgânica, Faculdade de FarmáciaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil

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