The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene

Quantification of Leishmania infantum kinetoplast DNA for monitoring the response to meglumine antimoniate therapy in visceral leishmaniasis.

PMID 23400573


Meglumine antimoniate (Glucantime) remains the therapeutic cornerstone of visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Twenty-one VL patients were treated with Glucantime, extending for 1 week after defervescence. For monitoring the response, Leishmania infantum kinetoplast DNA loads were evaluated using real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay in the blood. The maximum duration of treatment was 14 days. The loads before treatment ranged from 8 to 1,300,000 parasites/mL (mean = 73,095 parasites/mL), and the mean values on days 3, 7, 14, 28, and 90 were 4,902, 506, 6.33, 0.26, and 0.14, respectively. The loads decline to < 1 parasite/mL for 16 (76%) and 20 (95%) patients on days 14 and 28, respectively, and they decline for all patients by day 90. Results showed a dramatic decrease of the parasite loads, although complete clearance was not accomplished at the end of treatment. Only one relapse (4.5%) was observed. The parasite load can also serve as a dependable index for monitoring the response to Glucantime.