Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs): Potential therapeutic strategy against trypanosomiases?

Maura Rojas-Pirela, Ulrike Kemmerling, Wilfredo Quiñones, Paul Michels, Verónica Rojas*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Trypanosomiases are a group of tropical diseases that have devastating health and socio-economic effects worldwide. In humans, these diseases are caused by the pathogenic kinetoplastids Trypanosoma brucei, causing African trypanosomiasis or sleeping sickness, and Trypanosoma cruzi, causing American trypanosomiasis or Chagas disease. Currently, these diseases lack effective treatment. This is attributed to the high toxicity and limited trypanocidal activity of registered drugs, as well as resistance development and difficulties in their administration. All this has prompted the search for new compounds that can serve as the basis for the development of treatment of these diseases. Antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are small peptides synthesized by both prokaryotes and (unicellular and multicellular) eukaryotes, where they fulfill functions related to competition strategy with other organisms and immune defense. These AMPs can bind and induce perturbation in cell membranes, leading to permeation of molecules, alteration of morphology, disruption of cellular homeostasis, and activation of cell death. These peptides have activity against various pathogenic microorganisms, including parasitic protists. Therefore, they are being considered for new therapeutic strategies to treat some parasitic diseases. In this review, we analyze AMPs as therapeutic alternatives for the treatment of trypanosomiases, emphasizing their possible application as possible candidates for the development of future natural anti-trypanosome drugs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number599
Number of pages27
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • trypanosomiases
  • human sleeping sickness
  • chagas disease
  • antimicrobial peptides
  • anti-trypanosoma activity
  • alternative therapy


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