The antifilarial activity of a marine red alga, Botryocladia leptopoda, against experimental infections with animal and human filariae
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The antifilarial activity of the marine red alga Botryocladia leptopoda against rodent and human lymphatic filarial parasites is described. The animal filarial species included Litomosoides sigmodontis and Acanthocheilonema viteae maintained in cotton rats and Mastomys coucha, respectively, while a subperiodic strain of the human lymphatic filarial parasite Brugia malayi was maintained in M. coucha. The crude extract and its hexane fraction brought about a marked reduction in the peripheral microfilarial level in both of the rodent filarial parasites L. sigmodontis and A. viteae. The microfilaricidal effect began slowly from day 8 or 15 after initiation of treatment and increased with time with a very high efficacy at the end of the observation period against both rodent filariids. The microfilaricidal efficacy was, however, not as prominent in the case of B. malayi. The antifilarial activity, which occurred in the hexane fraction, exerted action at a much lower dose. The product killed a significant proportion of A. viteae and L. sigmodontis adult parasites. In the case of B. malayi, although the macrofilaricidal efficacy was much less than that of the rodent parasites, it (hexane fraction) caused sterilization of a significant proportion of the surviving female parasites. The present findings indicate the possibility of developing an adulticidal and female sterilizing agent against filarial parasites from a marine red alga.