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PF 1022A, a novel anthelmintically active cyclodepsipeptide, and Bay 44-4400, a semisynthetic derivative of PF 1022A were tested for filaricidal efficacy in Mastomys coucha infected with Litomosoides sigmodontis, Acanthocheilonema viteae and Brugia malayi. The parent compound PF 1022A showed limited anti-filarial efficacy in L. sigmodontis and B. malayi infected animals. Oral doses of 5 x 100 mg/kg on consecutive days caused only a temporary decrease of microfilariaemia levels. By contrast, Bay 44-4400 was highly effective against microfilariae of all three species in single oral, subcutaneous and cutaneously applied (spot on) doses. Minimum effective doses (MED, reducing parasitaemia density by > or =95%) determined 3 and 7 days after treatment were 3.125-6.25 and 6.25-12.5mg/kg, respectively. Using the spot on formulation, doses of 6.25mg/kg (L. sigmodontis), 12.5mg/kg (A. viteae) and 25mg/kg (B. malayi) were required to cause reductions of microfilaraemia levels by > or =95% until day 56. Adulticidal effects, determined as minimum curative doses (MCD, eliminating adult parasites within 56 days by >95%) after single dose treatment were limited to A. viteae (MCD, 100mg/kg independent of the route of administration). Repeated oral treatment (100mg/kg on 5 consecutive days) killed all adult L. sigmodontis but did not affect B. malayi. However, single doses of 6.25 and 25mg/kg resulted in severe pathological alterations of intrauterine stages of L. sigmodontis and B. malayi, respectively. These alterations may be responsible for long-lasting reductions of microfilaraemia even when curative effects could not be achieved.