Antileishmanial Activity of Auranofin Against Leishmania Major in vitro

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Medical Parasitology, School of Medicine, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran

2 Department of Laboratory Science, School of Allied Medical Science, Kashan University of Medical Sciences, Kashan, Iran



Despite the various studies done in the field of cutaneous leishmaniasis treatment, there is still no perfect and safe drug for definite treatment of this disease. Therefore, the quest to find an appropriate drug continues. Previous studies have shown that auranofin has anti-leishmanial activity; therefore, in this study; the effect of auranofin on Leishmania major was studied.
Materials and Methods: 
Effectiveness of four concentrations (1, 2, 4, and 8 μg/ml) of auranofin on L. major was studied. After culturing amastigotes and promastigotes of the parasite, IC50 was calculated. The ability of auranofin to induce apoptosis in promastigotes was evaluated, and the degree of fragmentation of promastigotes DNA after treatment with auranofin was studied. Subsequently, the ultrastructural changes induced by treatment with auranofin in promastigotes were studied. Using the obtained results, IC50 of auranofin against amastigotes and promastigotes was calculated as 1.007 and 2.38 μg/ml, respectively.
Showed that auranofin induce apoptosis in L. major. The highest rate of apoptosis (%80.1) occurred at the concentration of 8 μg/ml and also auranofin-induced fragmentation of DNA. Considerable changes occurred in the shape of body and free flagellum of the L. major promastigotes after treatment with auranofin.
Based on the results, it can be concluded that auranofin has a considerable anti-leishmanial activity and additional studies in this field will be based on the results.