Activity of bilobalide, a sesquiterpene from Ginkgo biloba, on Pneumocystis carinii

C. Atzori, A. Bruno, G. Chichino, E. Bombardelli, M. Scaglia, M. Ghione

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The sesquiterpene bilobalide, extracted from Ginkgo biloba leaves, was tested in vitro and in vivo for the ability to inhibit Pneumocystis carinii growth. Bilobalide was inhibitory to trophozoites cultured on human embryonic lung fibroblasts (HEL 299) at approximately the same concentration as trimethoprim plus sulfamethoxazole (lowest effective concentration, 50 μg of bilobalide per ml versus 9/45 μg of trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole per ml), inducing microscopically detectable morphological changes in the cytoplasm of the parasite. In pharmacologically immunosuppressed Sprague-Dawley rats transtracheally infected with a suspension of about 5 x 106 P. carinii trophozoites per ml, the daily intraperitoneal administration of bilobalide (10 mg/kg of body weight for 8 days) lowered the number of organisms by approximately 2 logs (that is, about 99%). There was no apparent toxicity either in uninfected HEL 299 feeder cells or in infected and uninfected animals. These studies suggest that the sesquiterpene bilobalide might be useful for therapy of and prophylaxis against P. carinii infections in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1492-1496
Number of pages5
JournalAntimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)


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