Parasitology international

A comparative evaluation of efficacy of chemotherapy, immunotherapy and immunochemotherapy in visceral leishmaniasis-an experimental study.

PMID 24747611


Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) represents the second most challenging infectious disease worldwide, leading to nearly 500,000 new cases and 60,000 deaths annually. Ninety per cent of VL cases occur in five countries namely Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sudan and Brazil. No licensed vaccine is available till date against any form of leishmaniasis. High toxicity and increasing resistance to the current chemotherapeutic regimens have further complicated the situation in VL endemic regions of the world. To combat this situation, immunochemotherapy can provide a solution. In the present study, an attempt has been made to assess the in vivo antileishmanial efficacy of chemotherapy, immunotherapy and immunochemotherapy with the use of a first generation antigen Killed Leishmania donovani (KLD) along with a standard drug sodium stibogluconate (SSG) and a newly tested antileishmanial cisplatin. Inbred BALB/c mice were infected with 10(7) promastigotes/0.1 ml of Leishmania donovani. A month after infection, these animals were given specific immunotherapy (KLD/KLD+MPL-A) or chemotherapy (SSG/cisplatin) or immunochemotherapy (SSG+KLD/SSG+KLD+MPL-A/cisplatin+KLD/cisplatin+KLD+MPL-A). Animals were sacrificed on 1, 15 and 30(th) day post treatment. The efficacy of these combinations was assessed in terms of parasite load and by immunological investigations. Infected mice and normal mice served as controls. Results showed that combination of drug and KLD significantly reduced the parasite burden, enhanced the DTH (Delayed Type Hypersensitivity) responses, showed increased levels of IgG2a and decreased levels of IgG1 as compared to mice given chemotherapy or immunotherapy alone. Further maximum protection was provided by SSG+KLD+MPL-A and it was most effective as depicted by 98.5% reduction in parasite load, a potent increase in IFN-γ levels and a significant decrease in IL-10 and IL-4 levels thus skewing the immune response towards Th1 type. Hence, immunochemotherapy is more effective in control of VL in comparison to chemotherapy or immunotherapy.