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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Riverside, California » Agricultural Water Efficiency and Salinity Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #388933

Research Project: Enhancing Specialty Crop Tolerance to Saline Irrigation Waters

Location: Agricultural Water Efficiency and Salinity Research Unit

Title: Phytochemical modulation of P-Glycoprotein and its gene expression in an ivermectin-resistant Haemonchus contortus isolate in vitro

item PACHECO, POLIANA - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item LOUVANDINI, HELDER - Universidade De Sao Paulo
item GIGLIOTI, RODRIGO - Instituto De Zootecnia
item WEDY, BRUNO - Instituto De Zootecnia
item RIBEIRO, JESSICA - Instituto De Zootecnia
item VERISSIMO, CECILIA - Instituto De Zootecnia
item Ferreira, Jorge
item AMARANTE, ALESSANDRO - Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP)
item KATIKI, LUCIANA - Instituto De Zootecnia

Submitted to: Veterinary Parasitology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/30/2022
Publication Date: 5/4/2022
Citation: Pacheco, P.A., Louvandini, H., Giglioti, R., Wedy, B.C.R., Ribeiro, J.C., Verissimo, C.J., Ferreira, J.F.S., Amarante, A.F.T.D., Katiki, L.M. 2022. Phytochemical modulation of P-Glycoprotein and its gene expression in an ivermectin-resistant Haemonchus contortus isolate in vitro. Veterinary Parasitology. 305. Article 109713.

Interpretive Summary: The barber-pole worm (Haemonchus contortus) is a gastrointestinal parasite in small-ruminant animals that is responsible for million-dollar losses and poses a threat to global food security. In recent times, the risk has increased due to the worldwide appearance of multidrug resistant worms and the fact that there are no new drugs in the veterinary industry pipeline. In several countries, farmers have been forced to treat animals with multiple anthelmintic drugs at one time, increasing not only costs but also drug residues in consumer meat and milk. In this work, we investigated using natural, plant-derived purified essential-oil components and antioxidant flavonoids to improve the efficacy of anthelmintic drugs such as Ivermectin (IVM). Ivermectin (IVM) was chosen as the test anthelmintic because of its safety record of over 40 years, its wide-spread use as an anthelmintic in ruminant animals and humans, and its worldwide reports of drug tolerance by the barbe-pole worm in ruminants. In laboratory tests using drug-resistant barber-pole worms, we found that IVM-resistance was eliminated when IVM was administered in combination with limonene, an oily compound found in the peel of several citrus fruits. Although this was a laboratory study, the results suggest that IVM combined with limonene could be more effective treating infected ruminant animals than using IVM alone. This research will benefit agronomists and other scientists working to combat the threat posed by the barber-pole worm parasite and increases understanding of the mechanisms of multidrug resistance in economically important gastrointestinal nematodes.

Technical Abstract: Haemonchus contortus is the most important gastrointestinal nematode in small ruminant systems worldwide and has developed resistance to several drugs, including ivermectin (IVM). IVM is not only a veterinary drug but also a safe, broad-spectrum, antiparasitic drug used in humans. One of the main IVM-resistance mechanisms in H. contortus involves P-glycoprotein (PgP), a trans-membrane transport protein that rids worm cells from toxic molecules. This study aimed to evaluate the anthelmintic activity of IVM, alone or combined with main terpenes of essential oils (alpha-terpinene, beta-citronellol, beta-pinene, citronellal, limonene, menthol, and terpinolene) and with phenolic compounds (epicatechin, epigallocatechin, gallocatechin, pentagalloylglucose, procyanidin, and quercetin). All compounds were tested, alone or combined with IVM, against susceptible (HcS) and resistant (HcR) isolates of H. contortus through the larval development test (LDT) and the adult motility assay (AMT) using verapamil (VP), a known PgP modulator, as a control. Results for the LDT determined that the lethal concentration required to kill 50% of nematodes (LC50) with IVM was 10 times greater (0.01 µg/mL) for HcR than for HcS (0.001 µg/mL). The combination IVM + VP inhibited the activity of PgP in HcR resulting in a LC50 = 0.002 ug.mL-1. Although limonene was the least effective and alpha-terpinene the most effective terpene when tested alone against HcR, the best combinations were IVM + limonene and IVM + quercetin both produced LC50 = 0.002 µg/mL (similar to IVM+VP) and were chosen for subsequent tests. Because adult parasites are the final target for anthelmintics, IVM was evaluated in HcS (LC50= 0.067 µg/mL) and HcR (LC50 =164.94 µg/mL) through the AMT. Results obtained with IVM + VP (LC50 = 0.020 µg/mL) in HcR were similar to IVM + limonene (LC50 = 0.028 µg/mL) and outperformed IVM + quercetin (LC50 = 1.39 µg/mL). RNA extracts from HcR adult worms exposed to IVM, IVM+VP, and IVM + limonene were evaluated for PgP expression by RT-PCR. For most concentrations, PgP-9 was significantly more expressed in worms treated with IVM alone than in worms treated with IVM + VP or IVM + limonene. Our results suggest that limonene is involved in the modulation of the PgP-9 gene and that it can restore the activity of IVM in the HcR isolate back to levels seen in HcS. Limonene is one of the main compounds found in citrus peel and has the potential to be both safe and affordable if used in combination with IVM to restore its anthelmintic effects against multi-drug-resistant H. contortus isolates. Our results also suggest that we may be more successful by combining natural products with failing commercial anthelmintics than trying to find natural substitutes for them.