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In vitro and in vivo antileishmanial effects of aloe-emodin on Leishmania major



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J Tradit Complement Med. 2015 Jan 31;5(2):96-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jtcme.2014.11.004. eCollection 2015.

In vitro and in vivo antileishmanial effects of aloe-emodin on Leishmania major.

Dalimi A1, Delavari M1, Ghaffarifar F1, Sadraei J1.

  • 1Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.


Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a common parasitic disease that is endemic in some parts of Iran. The drugs of choice used for leishmaniasis therapy are associated with a risk of recurrence and serious adverse effects. Therefore, finding a safe and effective treatment is of great importance.

In the present study, the effect of aloe-emodin on the growth of Leishmania major amastigotes was evaluated under in vitro conditions. In addition, the efficacy of a topical of aloe-emodin ointment was investigated in BALB/c mice with cutaneous leishmanial ulcers.

Different concentrations (40 μg/mL, 80 μg/mL, 120 μg/mL, and 160 μg/mL) of aloe-emodin were tested on Leishmania amastigotes twice: 24 hours and 48 hours. The induced apoptosis and necrotic effects of two concentrations (40 μg/mL and 120 μg/mL) of aloe-emodin on promastigotes were investigated by flow cytometry.

Under the in vivo condition, aloe-emodin ointment efficacy was evaluated at two concentrations (i.e., 0.1% and 1%). Serum indicator factors of the test and control groups were tested to evaluate the toxic effects of this compound on the liver and kidney.

Results showed that aloe-emodin inhibited the growth of Leishmania amastigotes and induced apoptosis in promastigotes. Topical application of aloe-emodin ointment likewise reduced the ulcer size. No significant differences in biochemical analysis were observed between the control and treated groups.

In conclusion, aloe-emodin showed antileishmanial effects under in vitro and in vivo conditions and may be used in clinical trials.


Leishmania major; aloe-emodin; apoptosis; flow cytometry; in vitro; in vivo



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