Conference Proceeding

Nanoliposomal artemisinin for treatment of murine visceral leishmaniasis

Dr. Farhat Afrin,
Taibah University, Saudi Arabia

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a fatal, vector borne tropical disease caused by intracellular protozoa of the genus Leishmania. In the absence of vaccines, chemotherapy remains the main armament in control of VL, a neglected disease of poverty.

Dr. Farhat Afrin received Ph.D. from Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, Kolkata, India where she worked on liposomal vaccines and drugs against visceral leishmaniasis. For 16 years, she was a Faculty member in the Department of Biotechnology, Hamdard University, New Delhi, India. She also worked at National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA and Centre for Immunology and Infection, University of York, UK. She is a recipient of several honors including American Association of Immunologists Young Faculty Travel Grant, Commonwealth Academic Staff fellowship, Indian Council of Medical Research International fellowship for Young Indian Bio-medical Scientists, Department of Biotechnology Overseas Associateship, India and certificates of appreciation for outstanding research and publications in Taibah University, Saudi Arabia. Her research interest is parasite immunology with emphasis on nanoparticles for vaccines and immunotherapeutics of Leishmania infection. She has published over 65 papers in Journals of International repute and is an Academic Editor, Editorial Board member and reviewer of several International Journals.

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a fatal, vector borne tropical disease caused by intracellular protozoa of the genus Leishmania. In the absence of vaccines, chemotherapy remains the main armament in control of VL, a neglected disease of poverty. Existing therapeutics for VL are ineffective, expensive or have side effects coupled with emergence of resistance, HIV co-infection and resurfacing in the form of post kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis after apparent cure. Thus, there is a dire need for alternate therapeutic options that would concurrently rejuvenate an impaired cell-mediated immune response. Artemisinin is a sesquiterpene lactone with potent antileishmanial activity. However, its lipophilicity limits its accessibility to parasitized macrophages. To enhance the bioavailability and stability of artemisinin with targeted delivery to macrophages, we incorporated artemisinin in nanoliposomes. Nanoliposomal artemisinin (NLA) prepared by thin film hydration and optimized using Box-Behnkehn design, had smooth and spherical surface with particle size, polydispersity index, zeta potential and drug loading of 83 nm, 0.2, -27.4 mV and 33.2 %, respectively. NLA was free from concomitant signs of toxicity and significantly denigrated the intracellular Leishmania infection as well as the number of infected macrophages ex-vivo with IC50 of 6.0 and 5.1 µg/ml, respectively. Following treatment in murine model of VL, NLA demonstrated superior efficacy over artemisinin with 82.1 and 77.6 % protection in the liver and spleen, respectively coinciding with modulation of cell mediated immunity towards Th1 type. Ours is the first report on the use of nanoliposomal drug delivery system of artemisinin as a promising alternative intervention against VL.

Published: 27 April 2017