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Concept: Niclosamide


In response to the current global health emergency posed by the Zika virus (ZIKV) outbreak and its link to microcephaly and other neurological conditions, we performed a drug repurposing screen of ∼6,000 compounds that included approved drugs, clinical trial drug candidates and pharmacologically active compounds; we identified compounds that either inhibit ZIKV infection or suppress infection-induced caspase-3 activity in different neural cells. A pan-caspase inhibitor, emricasan, inhibited ZIKV-induced increases in caspase-3 activity and protected human cortical neural progenitors in both monolayer and three-dimensional organoid cultures. Ten structurally unrelated inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases inhibited ZIKV replication. Niclosamide, a category B anthelmintic drug approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, also inhibited ZIKV replication. Finally, combination treatments using one compound from each category (neuroprotective and antiviral) further increased protection of human neural progenitors and astrocytes from ZIKV-induced cell death. Our results demonstrate the efficacy of this screening strategy and identify lead compounds for anti-ZIKV drug development.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Neuron, Neurology, Enzyme inhibitor, Pharmaceutical industry, Drug discovery, Inhibitor, Niclosamide


There is an urgent need to discover novel antimicrobial therapies. Drug repurposing can reduce the time and cost risk associated with drug development. We report the inhibitory effects of anthelmintic drugs (niclosamide, oxyclozanide, closantel, rafoxanide) against Helicobacter pylori strain 60190 and pursued further characterization of niclosamide against H. pylori. The MIC of niclosamide against H. pylori was 0.25 μg/mL. Niclosamide was stable in acidic pH and demonstrated partial synergy with metronidazole and proton pump inhibitors, such as omeprazole and pantoprazole. Niclosamide administration at 1 × MIC concentration, eliminated 3-log10CFU of H. pylori adhesion/invasion to AGS cells. Interestingly, no resistance developed even after exposure of H. pylori bacteria to niclosamide for 30 days. The cytotoxic assay demonstrated that niclosamide is not hemolytic and has an IC50of 4 μg/mL in hepatic and gastric cell lines. Niclosamide administration decreased transmembrane pH as determined by DiSC3(5) assay indicating that the mechanism of action of the anti-H. pylori activity of niclosamide was the disruption of H. pylori proton motive force. Niclosamide was effective in the Galleria mellonella-H. pylori infection model (p = 0.0001) and it can be develop further to combat H. pylori infection. However, results need to be confirmed with other H. pylori and clinical strains.

Concepts: Bacteria, Gastroenterology, Stomach, Helicobacter pylori, Helicobacter, Anthelmintics, Anthelmintic, Niclosamide


Niclosamide is an anthelmintic drug that has mainly been used for over 50 years to treat tapeworm infections. However, with the increase in drug repurposing initiatives, niclosamide has emerged as a true hit in many screens against various diseases. Indeed, from being an anthelmintic drug, it has now shown potential in treating Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, viral and microbial infections as well as various cancers. Such diverse pharmacological activities are a result of niclosamide’s ability to uncouple mitochondrial phosphorylation and modulate a selection of signaling pathways, such as Wnt/β-catenin, mTOR and JAK/STAT3, which are implicated many diseases. In this highlight, we will discuss the plethora of diseases that niclosamide has shown promise in treating.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Cancer, Disease, Infectious disease, Infection, Anthelmintics, Anthelmintic, Niclosamide


The manganese oxide birnessite adsorbed and catalyzed the transformation of the anthelminthic drug niclosamide (NIS) into 2-chloro-4-nitroaniline (CNA) and 5-chlorosalicylic acid (CSA) at acidic pH. The adsorption of NIS was fitted using a linear isotherm for all conditions and reaction times. Linear adsorption constant Kdwas 103 000 L kg-1at pH 5.0. The rate of transformation was first order with respect to both MnO2and NIS. At pH 5.0, the second order rate constant was 3.3 (±0.3) × 10-1 M-1 s-1. The adsorption constants and the rates of transformation decreased when pH increased from 4.0 to 5.5 because of increasing electrostatic repulsions between both negatively charged manganese oxide surface (pHzpc = 2.5) and NIS (pKa = 6.38). The presence of natural organic matter (NOM) extracted from surface water also significantly decreased the adsorption and the rates of transformation of NIS. The rate of transformation decreased by a factor of 20 in presence of 1.6 mgC L-1even though significant amounts of NIS were adsorbed onto MnO2. The interactions between NOM and NIS were investigated by using the fluorescence quenching method and would explain that NIS adsorbed on the surface of manganese oxide was stable in presence of NOM. Thus, hydrolysis catalyzed by manganese oxide is probably not an important process compared to biodegradation and adsorption because of the presence of organic matter and pH values usually >5.5 in aquatic environment.

Concepts: Acid, Adsorption, PH, Chlorine, Rate equation, Organic matter, Anthelmintic, Niclosamide


Rice leaf blight, which is caused by the bacterial pathogen Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo), results in huge losses in grain yield. Here, we show that Xoo-induced rice leaf blight is effectively controlled by niclosamide, an oral antihelminthic drug and molluscicide, which also functions as an anti-tumor agent. Niclosamide directly inhibited the growth of the three Xoo strains PXO99, 10208 and K3a. Niclosamide moved long distances from the site of local application to distant rice tissues. Niclosamide also increased the levels of salicylate and induced the expression of defense-related genes such as OsPR1 and OsWRKY45, which suppressed Xoo-induced leaf wilting. Niclosamide had no detrimental effects on vegetative/reproductive growth and yield. These combined results indicate that niclosamide can be used to block bacterial leaf blight in rice with no negative side effects.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Genome, Plant pathogens and diseases, Anthelmintics, Xanthomonas oryzae, Anthelmintic, Niclosamide


Abstract Niclosamide is an anthelmintic drug that also demonstrates great potential in fighting against cancers. However, parenteral delivery of niclosamide is challenged due to its insoluble property. This study aimed to develop an injectable formulation for niclosamide using nanocrystals. Niclosamide nanocrystals were prepared by wet media milling technique and characterized by electronic microscopes, differential scanning calorimetry, powder X-ray diffractometry and drug release, etc. The resulting nanocrystals using Tween 80 as the stabilizer were approximately 235 nm in particle size and showed a satisfactory stability. Pharmacokinetic studies revealed that there was no significant difference in plasma concentration-time profiles between nanocrystals and the control formulation (i.e. drug solution). By contrast, a significant difference in tissue distribution was observed at 2 h. Further, niclosamide nanocrystals presented a comparable antitumor effect to the drug solution against EC9076 cell line. We concluded that the nanocrystal formulation with solution-like behaviors should be a promising choice for intravenous delivery of niclosamide.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Statistical significance, X-ray crystallography, Differential scanning calorimetry, Route of administration, Anthelmintics, Anthelmintic, Niclosamide