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Parasitol Res. 2008 May;102(6):1249-55. doi: 10.1007/s00436-008-0902-y. Epub 2008 Feb 15.

An ethanolic extract of leaves of Piper betle (Paan) Linn mediates its antileishmanial activity via apoptosis.

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Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research, 244 B, Acharya JC Bose Road, Kolkata 700 020, West Bengal, India.


An unprecedented increase in the incidence of unresponsiveness to antimonial compounds has highlighted the urgent need to develop new antileishmanial agents. The leaves of Piper betle (locally known as Paan) have long been in use in the Indian indigenous system of medicine for its antimicrobial properties but its antileishmanial potential has not been studied. Accordingly, an ethanolic extract of leaves of Piper betle (PB) was tested for its antileishmanial activity that was evidenced in both promastigotes and amastigotes, with IC50 values of 9.8 and 5.45 microg/ml, respectively; importantly, it was accompanied by a safety index of >12-fold. This leishmanicidal activity of PB was mediated via apoptosis as evidenced by morphological changes, loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, in situ labeling of DNA fragments by terminal deoxyribonucleotidyltransferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick end labeling, and cell-cycle arrest at the sub-G0/G1 phase. Taken together, the data indicate that PB has promising antileishmanial activity that is mediated via programmed cell death and, accordingly, merits consideration and further investigation as a therapeutic option for the treatment of leishmaniasis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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