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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 298320, 9 pages
Research Article

Mitochondria Superoxide Anion Production Contributes to Geranylgeraniol-Induced Death in Leishmania amazonensis

1Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências Farmacêuticas, Laboratório de Inovação Tecnológica no Desenvolvimento de Fármacos e Cosméticos, Bloco B-08, Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Avenida Colombo 5790, 87020-900 Maringá, PR, Brazil
2Programa de Pós-graduação em Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Estadual de Maringá, Avenida Colombo 5790, 87020-900 Maringá, PR, Brazil

Received 5 September 2012; Revised 31 October 2012; Accepted 6 November 2012

Academic Editor: Veronique Seidel

Copyright © 2012 Milene Valéria Lopes et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Here we demonstrate the activity of geranylgeraniol, the major bioactive constituent from seeds of Bixa orellana, against Leishmania amazonensis. Geranylgeraniol was identified through 1H and 13C nuclear magnetic resonance imaging and DEPT. The compound inhibited the promastigote and intracellular amastigote forms, with IC50 of and μg/mL, respectively. This compound was also more toxic to parasites than to macrophages and did not cause lysis in human blood cells. Morphological and ultrastructural changes induced by geranylgeraniol were observed in the protozoan by electronic microscopy and included mainly mitochondria alterations and an abnormal chromatin condensation in the nucleus. These alterations were confirmed by Rh 123 and TUNEL assays. Additionally, geranylgeraniol induces an increase in superoxide anion production. Collectively, our in vitro studies indicate geranylgeraniol as a selective antileishmanial that appears to be mediated by apoptosis-like cell death.