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Biol Pharm Bull. 2002 Mar;25(3):386-9.

Latent activity of curcumin against leishmaniasis in vitro.

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Department of Biochemistry, The Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.


In this study the anti-proliferative effect of curcumin (curcuma longa) that is the active ingredient of ground dried rhizome has been studied against three local and three reference leishmanial strains, Leishmania major, Leishmania tropica and Leishmania infantum (Pakistani isolate). Curcumin has shown an average IC50 of 5.3 microM against promastigotes of various leishmanial strains which is much lower as compared with pentamidine that is one of the basic treatments against leishmaniasis. The main draw back attributed to these assays performed on promastigotes is the heterogeneity of results compared with those obtained with intracellular amastigotes or with in vivo effect. We also tested activity of curcumin against axenic amastigote like cells (AALC) of L. major strain (MHOM/PK/88/DESTO). Curcumin proves to be far more potent then pentamidine against AALC which further strengthens the fact about its leishmaniacidal activity.

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