Background: Most medicinal plants contain a mixture of bioactive compounds, including chemicals that interact with intracellular targets and others that can act as adjuvants to facilitate absorption of polar agents across cellular membranes. However, little is known about synergistic effects between such potential drug candidates and adjuvants. To probe for such effects, we tested the green tea compound epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and the membrane permeabilising digitonin on Plasmodium sporozoite motility and viability. Methodology/Principal Findings:Green fluorescent P. berghei sporozoites were imaged using a recently developed visual screening methodology. Motility and viability parameters were automatically analyzed and IC50 values were calculated, and the synergism of drug and adjuvant was assessed by the fractional inhibitory concentration index. Validating our visual screening procedure, we showed that sporozoite motility and liver cell infection is inhibited by EGCG at nontoxic concentrations. Digitonin synergistically increases the cytotoxicity of EGCG on sporozoite survival, but shows an additive effect on sporozoite motility. Conclusions/Significance: We proved the feasibility of performing highly reliable visual screens for compounds against Plasmodium sporozoites. We thereby could show an advantage of administering mixtures of plant metabolites on inhibition of cell motility and survival. Although the effective concentration of both drugs is too high for use in malaria prophylaxis, the demonstration of a synergistic effect between two plant compounds could lead to new avenues in drug discovery. © 2010 Hellmann et al.
Hellmann, J. K., Münter, S., Wink, M., & Frischknecht, F. (2010). Synergistic and additive effects of epigallocatechin gallate and digitonin on Plasmodium sporozoite survival and motility. PLoS ONE, 5(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0008682