Microwave-Assisted Semisynthesis and Leishmanicidal Activity of Some Phenolic Constituents from Lichens

Grover Castañeta, Rodrigo Villagomez, Efrain Salamanca, Pamela Canaviri-Paz, José A. Bravo, José L. Vila, Daniela Bárcenas-Pérez, José Cheel, Beatriz Sepúlveda, Alberto Giménez, Carlos Areche

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Leishmaniasis is considered one of the most untreated tropical diseases in the world. In this study, we investigated the in vitro leishmanicidal activity and cytotoxicity of various isolated lichen substances, including atranorin (1), usnic acid (2), gyrophoric acid (3), salazinic acid (4), galbinic acid (5), and parietin (6), and some semi-synthetic imine derivatives of usnic acid (7, 8, 9) and atranorin (10, 11, 12, 13). Imine condensation reactions with hydrazine and several amines were assisted by microwave heating, an efficient and eco-friendly energy source. The most interesting result was obtained for compound 2, which has high leishmanicidal activity but also high cytotoxicity. This cytotoxicity was mitigated in its derivative, 9, with better selectivity and high antileishmanic activity. This result may indicate that the usnic acid derivative (9) obtained using condensation with two cyclohexylamine groups is a promising lead compound for the discovery of new semisynthetic antiparasitic drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number524
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023

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  • atranorin derivatives
  • cytotoxicity
  • green chemistry
  • imine
  • leishmania
  • pyrazoline
  • usnic acid derivatives


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