Evaluation of triterpenes derivatives in the viability of Leishmania amazonensis and Trichomonas vaginalis

Trichomonas vaginalis and Leishmania spp. are protozoal species responsible for millions of cases of parasitic diseases worldwide. Considering the potential of natural products and the need for more effective and less toxic alternatives to treat trichomoniasis and leishmaniasis, this study aimed to evaluate the effect of two series of triterpenes derivatives with different modifications at C-3 and C-28 positions of the ursolic acid (UA) and betulinic acid (BA) against trophozoites of Trichomonas vaginalis and promastigotes forms of Leishmania (L.) amazonensis. The compounds modified just at C-3 were the most active. The 3β-acetyl betulinic acid (1b) reduced the trophozoites viability of T. vaginalis at 74%, followed by the 3-oxo ursolic acid and 3-oxo betulinic acid (3a and 3b) compounds (55% of reduction). The compound 3β-isobutyl ursolic acid (7a) inhibited the viability of L. amazonensis promastigotes by 55%. Therefore, analyzing the structure-activity relationship and the data of literature, it is possible to suppose that the inclusion of polar groups in the skeletons could improve the antiprotozoal activity. Overall, further studies are necessary to develop triterpenic derivatives with more powerful trichomonicidal and leishmanicidal properties.