Melaleuca alternifolia anthelmintic activity in gerbils experimentally infected by Haemonchus contortus

Grando TH, Baldissera MD, Gressler LT, de Sá MF, Bortoluzzi BN, Schafer AS, Ebling RC, Raffin RP, Santos RC, Stefani LM, Vaucher R, Leal ML, Monteiro SG
Experimental Parasitology, 2016


Gastrointestinal parasites are one of the biggest health problems faced in sheep, mainly due to their pathogenicity and resistance to drugs used to control these parasites. Thus, the following study aimed to assess the anthelmintic efficacy of Melaleuca alternifolia against Haemonchus contortus in gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus) experimentally infected. Three treatments were tested: M. alternifolia essential oil, popularly known as tea tree oil (TTO), a solid lipid nanocarrier made with essential oil of Melaleuca (nanoTTO), and terpinen-4-ol (terp-4-ol). In vivo studies were performed by determining the mean worm burden of H. contortus in gerbils TTO (0.75 mL/kg); nanoTTO (0.5 mL/kg) and terp-4-ol (0.5 mL l/kg) were able to reduce 46.36%; 48.64%, and 43.18% worm burden, respectively. H. contortus increased alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels, as demonstrated by liver injury. It was found that the TTO, nanoTTO, and terp-4-ol were not toxic to liver and kidneys since hepatic and renal functions were not affected. Moreover, terp-4-ol was able to prevent increased levels of seric AST and ALT in infected animals, indicating a hepatoprotective effect. Thus, our results indicate that TTO, nanoTTO, and terp-4-ol are safe and efficient against H. contortus infection in gerbils, and possibly the terp-4-ol may be considered the compound present in the Melaleuca alternifolia responsible for parasitic action against H. contortus.


Grando TH, Baldissera MD, Gressler LT, et al. Melaleuca alternifolia anthelmintic activity in gerbils experimentally infected by Haemonchus contortus. Exp Parasitol. 2016;170:177-183.

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