Marine alkaloids as bioactive agents against protozoal neglected tropical diseases and malaria†
Covering: 2000 up to 2021
Natural products are an important resource in drug discovery, directly or indirectly delivering numerous small molecules for potential development as human medicines. Among the many classes of natural products, alkaloids have a rich history of therapeutic applications. The extensive chemodiversity of alkaloids found in the marine environment has attracted considerable attention for such uses, while the scarcity of these natural materials has stimulated efforts towards their total synthesis. This review focuses on the biological activity of marine alkaloids (covering 2000 to up to 2021) towards Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) caused by protozoan parasites, and malaria. Chemotherapy represents the only form of treatment for Chagas disease, human African trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis and malaria, but there is currently a restricted arsenal of drugs, which often elicit severe adverse effects, show variable efficacy or resistance, or are costly. Natural product scaffolds have re-emerged as a focus of academic drug discovery programmes, offering a different resource to discover new chemical entities with new modes of action. In this review, the potential of a range of marine alkaloids is analyzed, accompanied by coverage of synthetic efforts that enable further studies of key antiprotozoal natural product scaffolds.