Evaluation of Apoptotic and Antileishmanial Activities of Artemisinin on Promastigotes and BALB/C Mice Infected with Leishmania major.

  • Fatemeh Ghaffarifar Mail Dept. of Parasitology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.
  • Farzad Esavand Heydari Dept. of Parasitology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.
  • Abdolhosein Dalimi Dept. of Parasitology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.
  • Zuhair M Hassan Dept. of Immunology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.
  • Mahdi Delavari Dept. of Medical Parasitology and Mycology, Faculty of Medicine, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran.
  • Hajar Mikaeiloo Dept. of Parasitology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.
Apoptosis, Artemisinin, Cytokine assay, In-vivo, Leishmania major


Background: In leishmaniasis, some drugs prescribed for treatment have toxic ef-fects and there are reports about drug resistance in some countries. Due to this fact, using herbal drugs such as artemisinin with good efficacy and low toxic effect might be suitable.Methods: We evaluated the apoptotic effect of artemisinin on Leishmania major in vitro and the antileishmanial activities of artemisinin on leishmaniasis in BALB/c mice and at the end INF-γ and IL-4 cytokines levels were detected by ELISA in spleen cell culture supernatants. During treatment the lesion size and survival rate were measured each four and ten days, respectively.Results: Percentage of early and late apoptosis in promastigotes of control group and promastigotes treated with 10, 25, 50 and 100 μg/ml of artemisinin after 48 h were 0.13, 16.04, 41.23, 49.03 and 81.83, respectively. The IFN-γ in ointment treated group were higher than those of other groups (P<0.05). The in vivo results showed that ointment compounds healed the lesions more effectively rather than intraperito-neal injection method (P<0.05). The survival rate of mice 150 days after challenge in treated group with ointment of artemisinin was 66% while all mice in control groups were died.Conclusion: All of in vitro results represented that this drug had antileishmanial ef-fects and these results were confirmed by evaluation effects in vivo condition of leishmaniasis. Interestingly, according to these results it can be concluded that this drug has antileishmanial effects in vitro and in vivo conditions. Artemisinin induces cytotoxic effect on L. major via apoptosis-related mechanism.


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How to Cite
Ghaffarifar F, Esavand Heydari F, Dalimi A, Hassan ZM, Delavari M, Mikaeiloo H. Evaluation of Apoptotic and Antileishmanial Activities of Artemisinin on Promastigotes and BALB/C Mice Infected with Leishmania major. Iran J Parasitol. 10(2):258-267.
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