1887

Abstract

Leishmaniasis remains a major health problem of the tropical and subtropical world. The visceral form causes the most fatalities if left untreated. Dramatic increases in the rates of infection and drug resistance and the non-availability of safe vaccines have highlighted the need for identification of novel and inexpensive anti-leishmanial agents. This study reports that racemoside A, a water-soluble steroidal saponin purified from the fruits of , is a potent anti-leishmanial molecule effective against antimonial-sensitive (strain AG83) and -unresponsive (strain GE1F8R) promastigotes, with IC values of 1.15 and 1.31 μg ml, respectively. Incubation of promastigotes with racemoside A caused morphological alterations including cell shrinkage, an aflagellated ovoid shape and chromatin condensation. This compound exerts its leishmanicidal effect through the induction of programmed cell death mediated by the loss of plasma membrane integrity as detected by binding of annexin V and propidium iodide, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential culminating in cell-cycle arrest at the sub-G/G phase, and DNA nicking shown by deoxynucleotidyltransferase-mediated dUTP end labelling (TUNEL). Racemoside A also showed significant activity against intracellular amastigotes of AG83 and GE1F8R at a 7–8-fold lower dose, with IC values of 0.17 and 0.16 μg ml, respectively, and was non-toxic to murine peritoneal macrophages up to a concentration of 10 μg ml. Hence, racemoside A is a potent anti-leishmanial agent that merits further pharmacological investigation.

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2007-09-01
2019-11-16
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