In-vitro evaluation of antileishmanial activity and toxicity of artemether with focus on its apoptotic effect

Document Type : Research article


1 Department of Parasitology, School of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Department of Immunology, School of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.


Artemisinin and its derivatives are very important new class of antimalarial drugs. One of the most important artemisinin derivatives is artemether. The antiparasitic activity of artemether as a derivative of artemisinin is related to endoperoxide bridge in its structure. The aim of this study was the evaluation of antileishmanial effect of artemether, with more focus on its apoptotic effect. In this study we used artemether in concentration of 5, 10, 25, 50 and 100 μg/ml for promastigote assay, promastigote proliferation measurements by MTT assay, detection of apoptotic cells by Flow cytometry analysis and DNA ladder assay. The application of artemether, promastigote IC50 was measured as 25 μg/ml. The percentage of apoptotic promastigotes by using 25 μg/ml of artemether was 42.28. The results of present study showed that artemether has inhibition effect on intracellular and extracellular growth of Leishmania major. Promastigotes of Leishmania major undergo apoptosis after exposure to artemether.