Antileishmanial activity and ultrastructural changes of sesquiterpene lactones isolated from Calea pinnatifida (Asteraceae)
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Bioactivity-guided fractionation of antileishmanial active CH 2 Cl 2 phase of MeOH extract from leaves of Calea pinnatifida led to isolation of two sesquiterpene lactones calein C (1) and calealactone C (2), which structures were stablished on the basis of spectroscopic analysis. Compounds 1 and 2 displayed potent activity against Leishmania amazonensis promastigotes with EC 50 of 1.7 and 4.6 µg mL −1 , respectively. Compound 2 presented low cytotoxicity for J774 macrophages and displayed activity against amastigote forms of L. amazonensis similar to miltefosine with CC 50 values of 31.73 and 27.18 µg mL −1 , respectively. Additionally, compounds 1 and 2 caused ultrastructural changes in promastigotes leading to a loss of their classical structural morphology, as evidenced by electron microscopy. Also compound 2 decreased the mitochondria membrane potential. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first occurrence of 1 and 2 in C. pinnatifida. The results obtained highlighted the importance of studying sesquiterpene lactones isolated from Calea pinnatifida in terms of antileishmanial activity, in order to understand the mechanism of action of the isolated compounds in promastigotes forms of L. amazonensis.