Korean J Parasitol.  2014 Aug;52(4):439-441. 10.3347/kjp.2014.52.4.439.

Gefitinib Inhibits the Growth of Toxoplasma gondii in HeLa Cells

  • 1Department of Parasitology, College of Medicine, The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul 137-701, Korea. howoo@catholic.ac.kr


Toxoplasma gondii is the causative agent of toxoplasmosis with symptoms of congenital neurological and ocular diseases and acquired lymphadenitis, retinochoroiditis, and meningoencephalitis. Small molecules which block the activity of protein kinases were tested in in vitro culture of T. gondii to find new therapeutic drugs of safer and more effective than the combined administration of pyrimethamine and sulfadoxine that sometimes provoke lethal Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Among them, Gefitinib and Crizotinib inhibited intracellular growth of T. gondii in HeLa cells by counting the number of T. gondii per parasitophorous vacuolar membrane whereas Sunitinib did not. Gefitinib inhibited the growth of T. gondii in a dose-dependent manner over 5 microM up to the tolerable concentration of HeLa cells and halted the division of the parasite immediately from the time point of treatment. Gefitinib inhibition suggests that tyrosine kinases of EGFR family or other homologous kinases of the parasite itself may be the target to cause the block of T. gondii growth.


Toxoplasma gondii; toxoplasmosis; treatment; small molecule; Gefitinib; EGFR tyrosine kinase; rhoptry kinase

MeSH Terms

Antiprotozoal Agents/*pharmacology
Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
Drug Repositioning
HeLa Cells
Parasitic Sensitivity Tests
Toxoplasma/*drug effects/*growth & development
Antiprotozoal Agents
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