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Vet Parasitol. 2011 Sep 27;181(2-4):83-90. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2011.05.009. Epub 2011 May 14.

Evaluation of miltefosine for the treatment of dogs naturally infected with L. infantum (=L. chagasi) in Brazil.

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Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Departamento de Parasitologia, Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.


Dogs naturally infected with Leishmania Infantum (=L. chagasi) were treated with miltefosine using different therapeutic regimens. The animals were evaluated for clinical evolution, biochemical parameters, parasite load (by real-time PCR), cytokine levels and humoral response. After treatment and during the following 24 months, there was progressive clinical improvement and complete recovery in 50% (7/14) of the treated animals. There was a decrease in the smear positivity of the bone marrow after treatment, and there was also a gradual and constant decrease in positive cultures at the end of the follow-up period. However, the PCR detection of parasite DNA remained positive. In general, all animals presented a significant increase in parasite load 6 months after treatment. The IFN-γ levels in all the groups tended to increase during follow-up period, regardless of the miltefosine dose administered. The IL-4 and IL-10 levels of the animals tended to decrease during follow-up, except after 300 days when only IL-10 increased. The serum antibodies identified antigens that ranged from 116 kDa to less than 29 kDa in the Western blot assay. Furthermore, 300 days after treatment, qualitative and quantitative differences in the antigen profiles were observed. Antigens of 97 and 46 kDa were the most intensely recognized. Higher levels of antigen-specific Leishmania IgG were detected before and 300 days after treatment in all groups. Taking together, the improvement in the clinical symptoms was not followed by parasitological clearance, suggesting that treatment with miltefosine is not recommended, especially in endemic areas like Brazil, where children are the major victims and dogs are involved in the maintenance of the parasite cycle.

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