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J Antimicrob Chemother. 2011 Apr;66(4):874-9. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkr002. Epub 2011 Feb 3.

Targeted killing of Leishmania donovani in vivo and in vitro with amphotericin B attached to functionalized carbon nanotubes.

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Infectious Disease Research Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Institute of Medical Sciences, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi 221 005, India.



This study describes the antileishmanial efficacy of the novel drug formulation of amphotericin B (AmB) attached to functionalized carbon nanotubes (f-CNTs) and compares it with AmB.


f-CNTs were prepared in a two-step chemical carboxylation and amidation process. The AmB was then attached to make f-CNT-AmB and its construction was confirmed by Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy (TEM). The cytotoxicity of the constructed compound, f-CNT-AmB, was assessed in vitro using the J774A.1 macrophage cell line and in vivo using healthy BALB/c mice. Antileishmanial activity of AmB and f-CNT-AmB was assessed in vitro using a macrophage (J774A.1 cell line) model of Leishmania donovani infection. Antileishmanial activity was assessed in vivo by comparing the parasite load of hamsters treated with a 5 day course of AmB, f-CNTs or f-CNT-AmB initiated at 30 days after infection with L. donovani parasites.


The FTIR spectroscopy and TEM data demonstrate the successful attachment of AmB to f-CNTs. The in vitro cytotoxicity of AmB, f-CNTs and f-CNT-AmB was measured by the cytotoxic concentration required to kill 50% of the cells: 0.48±0.06 μg/mL; 7.31±1.16 μg/mL; 0.66±0.17 μg/mL, respectively, in the J774A.1 cell line. The in vivo toxicity assessment of the compounds in BALB/c mice revealed no hepatic or renal toxicity. Against intracellular amastigotes the in vitro antileishmanial efficacy of f-CNT-AmB was significantly higher than that of AmB (IC50 0.00234±0.00075 μg/mL versus 0.03263±0.00123 μg/mL; P≤0.0001). The percentage inhibition of amastigote replication in hamsters treated with f-CNT-AmB was significantly more than that with AmB (89.85%±2.93% versus 68.97%±1.84%; P=0.0004).


The results of these experiments clearly demonstrate that f-CNT-AmB has significantly greater antileishmanial efficacy than AmB and had no significant cytotoxic effects.

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