Experimental chemotherapy with Allium sativum (Liliaceae) methanolic extract in rodents infected with Leishmania major and Leishmania donovani

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Journal of Vector Borne Diseases


Background & objectives: Several plant products have been tested and found to possess antileishmanial activity. The present study was undertaken to establish whether methanolic extract of Allium sativum Linn has antileishmanial activity in comparison to standard drugs. Methods: Methanolic extract of A. sativum bulbs was screened for in vitro and in vivo antileishmanial activity against Leishmania major strain (NLB 145) and L. donovani strain (NLB 065). Pentostam® and Amphotericin B® were used as standard drugs. BALB/c mice and golden hamsters (Mesocricetus auratus) were used in in vivo studies on L. major and L. donovani respectively. Results: The extract exhibited very low cytotoxicity (IC50 >450 μg/ml) against Vero cells. The extract had significantly better (p <0.001) leishmanicidal activity against both species (IC50 34.22 μg/ml to L. major, 37.41 μg/ml to L. donovani) than Pentostam. However, the activity was significantly lower (p <0.001) than that of Amphotericin B against both the species. At a concentration of 250 μg/ml, the extract induced the production of 60 μM of nitric oxide, a ten-fold up-regulation in activated macrophages. The multiplication indices for L. major amastigotes treated in 100 μg/ml were significantly different (p <0.05). Treatment with the extract, daily for 28 days led to a significant reduction (p <0.05) in footpad swelling in BALB/c mice; similar activity noticed in the treatment with standard drugs. The Leishman-Donovan Units (LDU) for the extract treated animals were significantly higher (p <0.05) than those of standard drugs, but lower compared to the negative control. Interpretation & conclusion: Since the mechanism of action for the methanolic extract is apparently immunomodulatory, garlic compounds could be purified and tried as complementary medicine in the management of leishmaniases.



Amastigotes and promastigotes, antimonials, leishmaniasis, methanolic extract


J Vector Borne Dis 47, September 2010, pp. 160–167