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      Rapid Healing of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis by High-Frequency Electrocauterization and Hydrogel Wound Care with or without DAC N-055: A Randomized Controlled Phase IIa Trial in Kabul

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          Anthroponotic cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) due to Leishmania (L.) tropica infection is a chronic, frequently disfiguring skin disease with limited therapeutic options. In endemic countries healing of ulcerative lesions is often delayed by bacterial and/or fungal infections. Here, we studied a novel therapeutic concept to prevent superinfections, accelerate wound closure, and improve the cosmetic outcome of ACL.

          Methodology/Principal Findings

          From 2004 to 2008 we performed a two-armed, randomized, double-blinded, phase IIa trial in Kabul, Afghanistan, with patients suffering from L. tropica CL. The skin lesions were treated with bipolar high-frequency electrocauterization (EC) followed by daily moist-wound-treatment (MWT) with polyacrylate hydrogel with (group I) or without (group II) pharmaceutical sodium chlorite (DAC N-055). Patients below age 5, with facial lesions, pregnancy, or serious comorbidities were excluded. The primary, photodocumented outcome was the time needed for complete lesion epithelialization. Biopsies for parasitological and (immuno)histopathological analyses were taken prior to EC (1 st), after wound closure (2 nd) and after 6 months (3 rd). The mean duration for complete wound closure was short and indifferent in group I (59 patients, 43.1 d) and II (54 patients, 42 d; p = 0.83). In patients with Leishmania-positive 2 nd biopsies DAC N-055 caused a more rapid wound epithelialization (37.2 d vs. 58.3 d; p = 0.08). Superinfections occurred in both groups at the same rate (8.8%). Except for one patient, reulcerations (10.2% in group I, 18.5% in group II; p = 0.158) were confined to cases with persistent high parasite loads after healing. In vitro, DAC N-055 showed a leishmanicidal effect on pro- and amastigotes.


          Compared to previous results with intralesional antimony injections, the EC plus MWT protocol led to more rapid wound closure. The tentatively lower rate of relapses and the acceleration of wound closure in a subgroup of patients with parasite persistence warrant future studies on the activity of DAC N-055.

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          Author Summary

          In many countries of the Middle East such as Afghanistan, cutaneous leishmaniasis is a highly prevalent, chronic and stigmatizing skin disease. Poor hygiene conditions frequently aggravate the lesions due to bacterial and fungal superinfections. Classical treatments with injections of pentavalent antimony are hampered by costs, side effects, resistance development, supply and manufactural quality problems. In the present study on Afghan patients with Leishmania tropica-induced skin lesions we evaluated the clinical effect of an initial removal of lesion tissue by electrocoagulation using a bipolar high-frequency electrosurgery instrument, followed by daily moist wound treatment with or without a preparation of pharmaceutical sodium chlorite (DAC N-055). DAC N-055 is a compound with anti-infective, immunomodulatory and tissue repair-promoting effects. Our analysis revealed that the carefully performed moist wound treatment led to a rapid healing of the wounds within an average period of 6 weeks, even in the absence of the sodium chlorite preparation. This is considerably faster than the time spans previously reported for local or systemic antimony treatment. We believe that the current standard for local care of chronic wounds should also be applied to Leishmania skin lesions. If combined with an initial single high-frequency electrocoagulation, it is a highly effective, inexpensive and well-tolerated treatment option for cutaneous leishmaniasis.

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          Most cited references 77

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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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            Regulation of wound healing by growth factors and cytokines.

            Cutaneous wound healing is a complex process involving blood clotting, inflammation, new tissue formation, and finally tissue remodeling. It is well described at the histological level, but the genes that regulate skin repair have only partially been identified. Many experimental and clinical studies have demonstrated varied, but in most cases beneficial, effects of exogenous growth factors on the healing process. However, the roles played by endogenous growth factors have remained largely unclear. Initial approaches at addressing this question focused on the expression analysis of various growth factors, cytokines, and their receptors in different wound models, with first functional data being obtained by applying neutralizing antibodies to wounds. During the past few years, the availability of genetically modified mice has allowed elucidation of the function of various genes in the healing process, and these studies have shed light onto the role of growth factors, cytokines, and their downstream effectors in wound repair. This review summarizes the results of expression studies that have been performed in rodents, pigs, and humans to localize growth factors and their receptors in skin wounds. Most importantly, we also report on genetic studies addressing the functions of endogenous growth factors in the wound repair process.
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              Myeloperoxidase: friend and foe.

               S J Klebanoff (2005)
              Neutrophilic polymorphonuclear leukocytes (neutrophils) are highly specialized for their primary function, the phagocytosis and destruction of microorganisms. When coated with opsonins (generally complement and/or antibody), microorganisms bind to specific receptors on the surface of the phagocyte and invagination of the cell membrane occurs with the incorporation of the microorganism into an intracellular phagosome. There follows a burst of oxygen consumption, and much, if not all, of the extra oxygen consumed is converted to highly reactive oxygen species. In addition, the cytoplasmic granules discharge their contents into the phagosome, and death of the ingested microorganism soon follows. Among the antimicrobial systems formed in the phagosome is one consisting of myeloperoxidase (MPO), released into the phagosome during the degranulation process, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), formed by the respiratory burst and a halide, particularly chloride. The initial product of the MPO-H2O2-chloride system is hypochlorous acid, and subsequent formation of chlorine, chloramines, hydroxyl radicals, singlet oxygen, and ozone has been proposed. These same toxic agents can be released to the outside of the cell, where they may attack normal tissue and thus contribute to the pathogenesis of disease. This review will consider the potential sources of H2O2 for the MPO-H2O2-halide system; the toxic products of the MPO system; the evidence for MPO involvement in the microbicidal activity of neutrophils; the involvement of MPO-independent antimicrobial systems; and the role of the MPO system in tissue injury. It is concluded that the MPO system plays an important role in the microbicidal activity of phagocytes.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS Negl Trop Dis
                PLoS Negl Trop Dis
                PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                February 2014
                13 February 2014
                : 8
                : 2
                [1 ]Mikrobiologisches Institut – Klinische Mikrobiologie, Immunologie und Hygiene, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität (FAU) Erlangen-Nürnberg and Universitätsklinikum Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany
                [2 ]Leishmania Clinic, German Medical Service (NGO), Darwaze-e-Lahory, Kabul, Afghanistan
                [3 ]Waisenmedizin e.V. Promoting Access to Care with Essential Medicine, Non-Profit Organization, Freiburg, Germany
                National Institutes of Health, United States of America
                Author notes

                The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Conceived and designed the experiments: KWS RS FMA US CB. Performed the experiments: AFJ US RS PW FM KWS. Analyzed the data: AFJ US PW HCS CB KWS. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: KWS US CB FMA. Wrote the paper: CB US AFJ KWS. Final approval of the manuscript version to be published: AFJ US RS PW FM HCS FMA CB KWS.


                Current address: Department of Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgery, Universitätsklinikum Göttingen and Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen, Germany.


                Current address: Christusträger Communität, Gut Rallingen am Thunersee, Merligen, Switzerland.


                Current address: German Medical Diagnostic Center Kabul DK-GMDC Ltd., Kabul, Afghanistan.

                ¶ These authors are joint senior authors on this work.

                ‡ Meanwhile retired.


                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Pages: 13
                This study was supported by the German-Academic Exchange Service (travel grants to KWS, AFJ and FM), the Senior Expert Service (travel grants to KWS) and the Interdisciplinary Center of Clinical Research at the Universitätsklinikum Erlangen (IZKF, project A49 to US and CB). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
                Research Article
                Infectious diseases
                Neglected tropical diseases
                Skin infections

                Infectious disease & Microbiology


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