February 13, 2015
1 min read

Desloratadine may kill Lyme disease-causing bacteria

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Using the common allergy antihistamine desloratadine may block the manganese transporter in Borrelia burgdorferi, the cause of Lyme disease, according to study results.

“Our results bring us closer to the possibility of discovering the first targeted therapy to treat Lyme disease,” Jayakumar Rajadas, PhD, director of the Biomaterials and Advanced Drug Delivery Lab at Stanford University School of Medicine, said in a press release. “It’s exciting to see firsthand that our insights into the metabolic activity of this elusive bacteria may give us the ability to actually kill it.”

Jayakumar Rajadas

Jayakumar Rajadas

Rajadas and colleagues combined computer-simulated protein structure prediction with molecular docking to target the B. burgdorferi metal transporter A (BmtA). The researchers then viewed libraries of FDA-approved compounds that could potentially bind to the predicted BmtA structure.

Antihistamines such as desloratadine, the major active metabolite of loratadine, and 3-hydroxydesloratadine, as well as yohimbine and tadalafil, demonstrated tight binding to the transporter.

Treatment samples of desloratadine, commonly used to combat allergy symptoms, caused a reduction in bacterial pellet size and mass. However, Rajadas and colleagues indicated more research is needed to see if desloratadine can eradicate B. burgdorferi.

“Whether Borrelia has the ability to develop resistance to desloratadine-like compounds is an important question and should be addressed in future studies,” the researchers wrote. – by Ryan McDonald

Disclosure: Wagh reports being listed on a patent for Inhibitors of Borrelia Metal Transporter for Treatment of Lyme Disease assigned to Stanford University. See the full study for a list of all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.