Potent antimalarial activity of newly synthesized substituted chalcone analogs in vitro
Licochalcone A, isolated from Chinese licorice roots, inhibited the in vitro growth of both chloroquine-susceptible (3D7) and chloroquine-resistant (Dd2) Plasmodium falciparum strains in a [3H]hypoxanthine uptake assay. The growth inhibition of the chloroquine-resistant strain by licochalcone A was similar to that of the chloroquine-susceptible strain. To examine the activity of licochalcone A on the different asexual blood stages of the parasite, licochalcone A was added to highly synchronized cultures containing rings, trophozoites, and schizonts. The growth of the parasites at all stages was inhibited by licochalcone A. The in vivo activity of licochalcone A was tested in a mouse model of infection with P. yoelii. Licochalcone A administered either intraperitoneally or orally for 3 to 6 days protected the mice from the otherwise lethal P. yoelii infection. These results demonstrate that licochalcone A exhibits potent antimalarial activity and might be developed into a new antimalarial drug.