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Zinc-clotrimazole complexes are effective against Trichomonas vaginalis

  • Victor Midlej (a1), Felipe Rubim (a1), Wilmer Villarreal (a2), Érica S. Martins-Duarte (a3), Maribel Navarro (a4) (a5), Wanderley de Souza (a1) and Marlene Benchimol (a1) (a6)...


Trichomonas vaginalis is a protozoan parasite that causes trichomoniasis in humans, the most prevalent non-viral sexually transmitted disease (STD). Imidazole compounds are used for the treatment of trichomoniasis, and metronidazole is the most commonly prescribed. However, these compounds can lead to parasite resistance and unwanted side effects. Therefore, there is a need for an alternative treatment for this disease. Here, we explored the potential of clotrimazole (CTZ) and zinc compounds, as well as CTZ complexed with zinc salts ([1] acetate [Zn(CTZ)2(Ac)2] and [2] a chloride [Zn(CTZ)2Cl2] complexes) against T. vaginalis. We synthesized the zinc complexed CTZ compounds and determined their concentration values that inhibited parasite growth by 50% (IC50). We used scanning and transmission electron microscopy to visualize the ultrastructural alterations induced by CTZ and their zinc complexes. The incubation of the parasites with [Zn(CTZ)2(Ac)2] complex inhibited their growth, yielding an IC50 of 4.9 µm. Moreover, there were changes in the shape of treated parasites, including the formation of surface projections that subsequently detached from the cell, in addition to changes in the hydrogenosomes, endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi complex. We found [Zn(CTZ)2(Ac)2] to be a highly effective compound against T. vaginalis in vitro, suggesting its potential utility as an alternative chemotherapy for trichomoniasis.


Corresponding author

Author for correspondence: Marlene Benchimol, E-mail:


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