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Korean J Parasitol. 2009 Sep;47(3):213-8. doi: 10.3347/kjp.2009.47.3.213. Epub 2009 Aug 28.

A novel organotellurium compound (RT-01) as a new antileishmanial agent.

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Department of Parasitology, Biology Institute, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, SP, Brazil.


Leishmaniasis is a neglected disease and endemic in developing countries. A lack of adequate and definitive chemotherapeutic agents to fight against this infection has led to the investigation of numerous compounds. The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of RT-01, an organotellurane compound presenting biological activities, in 2 experimental systems against Leishmania amazonensis. The in vitro system consisted of promastigotes and amastigotes forms of the parasite, and the in vivo system consisted of L. amazonensis infected BALB/c mice, an extremely susceptible mouse strain. The compound proved to be toxic against promastigotes and amastigotes. The study also showed that treatment with RT-01 produces an effect similar to that treatment with the reference antimonial drug, Glucantime, in L. amazonensis infected mice. The best results were obtained following RT-01 intralesional administration (720 microg/kg/day); mice showed significant delay in the development of cutaneous lesions and decreased numbers of parasites obtained from the lesions. Significant differences in tissue pathology consisted mainly of no expressive accumulation of inflammatory cells and well-preserved structures in the skin tissue of RT-01-treated mice compared with expressive infiltration of infected cells replacing the skin tissue in lesions of untreated mice. These findings highlight the fact that the apparent potency of organotellurane compounds, together with their relatively simple structure, may represent a new avenue for the development of novel drugs to combat parasitic diseases.


Leishmania amazonensis, organotellurium compound; chemotherapy; leishmaniasis, antileishmanial drug

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