Medycyna Wet. 67 (12), 829-834, 2011

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Jóźwicka K., Donskow-Łysoniewska K., Doligalska M.
Caenorhabditiselegans nematode - convenient for the study of anthelmintic activity in plant saponins
Widely introduced parasitic control programs rely heavily on the use of synthetic or semi-synthetic antiparasitic compounds. The ineffectiveness of these therapies and growing drug resistance of nematodes leads researchers to search for new alternative methods to combat parasites. One proposal is to use the medicinal properties of herbs that have been used in medicine and vete-rinary practice for a longer period. The research of activity of plant extracts and their fractions are increasingly important to develop therapies that improve the health of humans and also animals. Anthelmintic properties of plant compounds may be used in an environment where invasive forms of parasites develop. At this stage different compounds can affect the growth and development of parasites, such as inhi-biting the molting process. Knowledge of the development of nematodes is still incomplete. On account of the simple structure and transparent body of the nematode, Caenorhabditiselegans is a model species to study many phenomena. Development of the nematode (parasitic and free-living) is strictly programmed. Apoptosis is one of the major mechanisms involved in nematode development. The main apoptotic pathway proteins are CED-3, CED-4 (pro-apoptotic) and CED-9 (anti-apoptotic). Changes in the levels of these proteins may alter the course of organogenesis leading to adverse phenotypic effects. Saponins are compounds commonly occurring in the plant kingdom (both in edible plants and herbs). The mechanism of the action of triterpenoidsaponins per cell is not fully understood. They show numerous properties such as immunomodulatory, antiviral, cytotoxic, or antitumor. Particularly derivatives of oleanolic acid and ursolic acid exhibit a variety of pharmacological properties without toxic side-effects. Due to their characteristics active plant compounds, mainly derivatives of pentacyclictriterpenoids, are a potential source of anticancer, cytotoxic and anthelmintic new generation substances. These may affect the development of the parasite to regulate apoptosis. The discovery of the manner in which saponins are involved in apoptosis can be the first step toward the development a new drug for parasite diseases.
Keywords: C. elegans, plant saponins, nematodes