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      In vitro and in vivo antileishmanial activity of β-acetyl-digitoxin, a cardenolide of Digitalis lanata potentially useful to treat visceral leishmaniasis Translated title: Activité antileishmaniale in vitro et in vivo de la β-acétyl-digitoxine, un cardénolide de Digitalis lanata potentiellement utile pour traiter la leishmaniose viscérale

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      Parasite

      EDP Sciences

      Treatment, β-acetyl-digitoxin, Visceral leishmaniasis, Drug repositioning, Toxicity, Miltefosine

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          Abstract

          Current treatments of visceral leishmaniasis face limitations due to drug side effects and/or high cost, along with the emergence of parasite resistance. Novel and low-cost antileishmanial agents are therefore required. We report herein the antileishmanial activity of β-acetyl-digitoxin (b-AD), a cardenolide isolated from Digitalis lanata leaves, assayed in vitro and in vivo against Leishmania infantum. Results showed direct action of b-AD against parasites, as well as efficacy for the treatment of Leishmania-infected macrophages. In vivo experiments using b-AD-containing Pluronic ® F127 polymeric micelles (b-AD/Mic) to treat L. infantum-infected mice showed that this composition reduced the parasite load in distinct organs in more significant levels. It also induced the development of anti-parasite Th1-type immunity, attested by high levels of IFN-γ, IL-12, TNF-α, GM-CSF, nitrite and specific IgG2a antibodies, in addition to low IL-4 and IL-10 contents, along with higher IFN-γ-producing CD4 + and CD8 + T-cell frequency. Furthermore, low toxicity was found in the organs of the treated animals. Comparing the therapeutic effect between the treatments, b-AD/Mic was the most effective in protecting animals against infection, when compared to the other groups including miltefosine used as a drug control. Data found 15 days after treatment were similar to those obtained one day post-therapy. In conclusion, the results obtained suggest that b-AD/Mic is a promising antileishmanial agent and deserves further studies to investigate its potential to treat visceral leishmaniasis.

          Translated abstract

          Les traitements actuels de la leishmaniose viscérale font face à des limitations dues aux effets secondaires des médicaments et/ou à leur coût élevé, ainsi qu’à l’émergence d’une résistance parasitaire. Des agents antileishmaniaux nouveaux et peu coûteux sont donc nécessaires. Nous rapportons ici l’activité antileishmaniale de la β-acétyl-digitoxine (b-AD), un cardénolide isolé à partir de feuilles de Digitalis lanata, mesurée in vitro et in vivo contre Leishmania infantum. Les résultats ont montré une action directe de la b-AD contre les parasites, ainsi qu’une efficacité pour le traitement des macrophages infectés par Leishmania. Des expériences in vivo utilisant des micelles polymériques Pluronic ® F127 contenant de la b-AD (b-AD/Mic) pour traiter des souris infectées par L. infantum ont montré que cette composition réduisait à des niveaux plus significatifs la charge parasitaire dans différents organes, ainsi que le développement d’une immunité antiparasitaire de type Th1, attestée par les taux élevés d’IFN-γ, d’IL-12, de TNF-α, de GM-CSF, de nitrite et d’anticorps IgG2a spécifiques, en plus des faibles taux d’IL-4 et IL-10, ainsi qu’une fréquence plus élevée des cellules T CD4 + and CD8 + productrices d’ IFN-γ. De plus, une faible toxicité a été trouvée dans les organes des animaux traités. En comparant l’effet thérapeutique des traitements, b-AD/Mic était le plus efficace pour protéger les animaux contre l’infection, par rapport aux autres groupes comprenant la miltefosine utilisée comme contrôle médicamenteux. Les données trouvées 15 jours après le traitement étaient similaires à celles obtenues un jour après le traitement. En conclusion, les résultats obtenus suggèrent que b-AD/Mic est un agent antileishmanial prometteur et mérite des études supplémentaires pour étudier son potentiel à traiter la leishmaniose viscérale.

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          Most cited references 73

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          Leishmaniasis Worldwide and Global Estimates of Its Incidence

          As part of a World Health Organization-led effort to update the empirical evidence base for the leishmaniases, national experts provided leishmaniasis case data for the last 5 years and information regarding treatment and control in their respective countries and a comprehensive literature review was conducted covering publications on leishmaniasis in 98 countries and three territories (see ‘Leishmaniasis Country Profiles Text S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6, S7, S8, S9, S10, S11, S12, S13, S14, S15, S16, S17, S18, S19, S20, S21, S22, S23, S24, S25, S26, S27, S28, S29, S30, S31, S32, S33, S34, S35, S36, S37, S38, S39, S40, S41, S42, S43, S44, S45, S46, S47, S48, S49, S50, S51, S52, S53, S54, S55, S56, S57, S58, S59, S60, S61, S62, S63, S64, S65, S66, S67, S68, S69, S70, S71, S72, S73, S74, S75, S76, S77, S78, S79, S80, S81, S82, S83, S84, S85, S86, S87, S88, S89, S90, S91, S92, S93, S94, S95, S96, S97, S98, S99, S100, S101’). Additional information was collated during meetings conducted at WHO regional level between 2007 and 2011. Two questionnaires regarding epidemiology and drug access were completed by experts and national program managers. Visceral and cutaneous leishmaniasis incidence ranges were estimated by country and epidemiological region based on reported incidence, underreporting rates if available, and the judgment of national and international experts. Based on these estimates, approximately 0.2 to 0.4 cases and 0.7 to 1.2 million VL and CL cases, respectively, occur each year. More than 90% of global VL cases occur in six countries: India, Bangladesh, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Brazil. Cutaneous leishmaniasis is more widely distributed, with about one-third of cases occurring in each of three epidemiological regions, the Americas, the Mediterranean basin, and western Asia from the Middle East to Central Asia. The ten countries with the highest estimated case counts, Afghanistan, Algeria, Colombia, Brazil, Iran, Syria, Ethiopia, North Sudan, Costa Rica and Peru, together account for 70 to 75% of global estimated CL incidence. Mortality data were extremely sparse and generally represent hospital-based deaths only. Using an overall case-fatality rate of 10%, we reach a tentative estimate of 20,000 to 40,000 leishmaniasis deaths per year. Although the information is very poor in a number of countries, this is the first in-depth exercise to better estimate the real impact of leishmaniasis. These data should help to define control strategies and reinforce leishmaniasis advocacy.
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            Miltefosine: a review of its pharmacology and therapeutic efficacy in the treatment of leishmaniasis.

            Miltefosine is an alkylphosphocholine drug with demonstrated activity against various parasite species and cancer cells as well as some pathogenic bacteria and fungi. For 10 years it has been licensed in India for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis (VL), a fatal neglected parasitic disease. It is the first and still the only oral drug that can be used to treat VL and cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL). The standard 28 day miltefosine monotherapy regimen is well tolerated, except for mild gastrointestinal side effects, although its teratogenic potential severely hampers its general use in the clinic and roll-out in national elimination programmes. The pharmacokinetics of miltefosine are mainly characterized by its long residence time in the body, resulting in extensive drug accumulation during treatment and long elimination half-lives. At the moment, different combination therapy strategies encompassing miltefosine are being tested in multiple controlled clinical trials in various geographical areas of endemicity, both in South Asia and East Africa. We here review the most salient pre-clinical and clinical pharmacological aspects of miltefosine, its mechanism of action against Leishmania parasites and other pathogens, and provide a systematic overview of the efficacy and safety data from all clinical trials of miltefosine, either alone or in combination, in the treatment of VL and CL.
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              Increasing failure of miltefosine in the treatment of Kala-azar in Nepal and the potential role of parasite drug resistance, reinfection, or noncompliance.

              Miltefosine (MIL), the only oral drug for visceral leishmaniasis (VL), is currently the first-line therapy in the VL elimination program of the Indian subcontinent. Given the paucity of anti-VL drugs and the looming threat of resistance, there is an obvious need for close monitoring of clinical efficacy of MIL. In a cohort study of 120 VL patients treated with MIL in Nepal, we monitored the clinical outcomes up to 12 months after completion of therapy and explored the potential role of drug compliance, parasite drug resistance, and reinfection. The initial cure rate was 95.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 92.2-99.4) and the relapse rate at 6 and 12 months was 10.8% (95% CI, 5.2-16.4) and 20.0% (95% CI, 12.8-27.2) , respectively. No significant clinical risk factors of relapse apart from age <12 years were found. Parasite fingerprints of pretreatment and relapse bone marrow isolates within 8 patients were similar, suggesting that clinical relapses were not due to reinfection with a new strain. The mean promastigote MIL susceptibility (50% inhibitory concentration) of isolates from definite cures was similar to that of relapses. Although more tolerant strains were observed, parasite resistance, as currently measured, is thus not likely involved in MIL treatment failure. Moreover, MIL blood levels at the end of treatment were similar in cured and relapsed patients. Relapse in one-fifth of the MIL-treated patients observed in our study is an alarming signal for the VL elimination campaign, urging for further review and cohort monitoring.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Parasite
                Parasite
                parasite
                Parasite
                EDP Sciences
                1252-607X
                1776-1042
                2021
                14 April 2021
                : 28
                : ( publisher-idID: parasite/2021/01 )
                Affiliations
                [1 ] Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências da Saúde: Infectologia e Medicina Tropical, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Belo Horizonte 30130-100 Minas Gerais Brazil
                [2 ] Departamento de Parasitologia, Microbiologia e Imunologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora Juiz de Fora 36036-900 Minas Gerais Brazil
                [3 ] Laboratório de Imunopatologia, Núcleo de Pesquisas em Ciências Biológicas, Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Insituto de Ciências Exatas e Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Ouro Preto Ouro Preto 35400-000 Minas Gerais Brazil
                [4 ] Universidad Católica de Santa María Urb. San José S/N Umacollo 04000 Arequipa Perú
                [5 ] Departamento de Produtos Farmacêuticos, Faculdade de Farmácia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Belo Horizonte 31270-901 Minas Gerais Brazil
                [6 ] Departament Biologie, LS Pharmazeutische Biologie, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg 91054 Erlangen Germany
                [7 ] Departamento de Patologia Clínica, COLTEC, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais Belo Horizonte 31270-901 Minas Gerais Brazil
                Author notes
                Article
                parasite200128 10.1051/parasite/2021036
                10.1051/parasite/2021036
                8045677
                33851916
                © C.S. Freitas et al., published by EDP Sciences, 2021

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 11, Tables: 3, Equations: 0, References: 68, Pages: 14
                Categories
                Research Article

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