Evaluation of different concentrations of imatinib on the viability of Leishmania major: An In Vitro study


1 Skin Diseases and Leishmaniasis Research Center, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

2 Department of Parasitology and Mycology, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

3 Skin Diseases and Leishmaniasis Research Center; Department of Parasitology and Mycology, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

4 Department of Dermatology, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

5 Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran


Background: Leishmaniasis is an infectious disease caused by an intracellular parasite of Leishmania and is transmitted through the female sandflies bite and may lead to severe skin lesions. Although drugs such as antimony compounds are available, their side effects such as toxicity, low efficacy, and emergence of resistance have raised the importance of effective replacement. Imatinib, as an inhibitor of tyrosine kinase (TK) of Leishmania, stops abnormal function of TK such as Bcr-Abl through assembling into transmembrane pores in a sterol-dependent manner. Hence, the evaluation of killing effects of different concentrations of imatinib against Leishmania major amastigotes and promastigotes in vitro were the objectives of the present study.Materials and Methods: The killing effects of different concentrations of imatinib (25, 50, and 100 μg) and 25 μg amphotericin B (as positive control) were evaluated against RPMI 1640-cultured promastigotes and the amastigote/macrophage model by MTS cell proliferation assay kit (ab197010) and Giemsa staining method during 24, 48, and 72 h. Results: The results showed anti-Leishmania effect of imatinib in concentration and time-dependent manner. The lowest number of live promastigotes and amastigotes were obtained due to treat with 100 μ/ml imatinib at 72 h. Furthermore, 100 μg concentration of imatinib had the same effect as 25 μg amphotericin B on both L. major promastigotes and amastigotes (P < 0.001). Conclusion: The anti-Leishmania effect of imatinib was confirmed by MTS and direct microscopy. Further study is recommended for evaluating possible therapeutic effects of imatinib on leishmaniasis in vivo.


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