Amoebiasis is a major public health problem in tropical and subtropical countries. Although a number of antiamoebic agents are used for its treatment and the molecular targets of these drugs have been identified, the biochemical and physiological mechanisms that produce trophozoite death are little known. The present study dates the <i>in vitro</i> induction of programmed cell death (PCD) in <i>E. histolytica</i> by emetine. Morphologically, the emetine incubation reduces cytoplasmic volume, produce nuclear condensation and DNA fragmentation, maintaining the plasma membrane integrity; biochemically, the morphological changes are in concordance with the overproduction of reactive oxygen species inside trophozoites. These results provide the first insight related the cellular mechanisms of emetine action
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