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PLoS One. 2018 May 25;13(5):e0196424. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0196424. eCollection 2018.

Embryonic toxico-pathological effects of meglumine antimoniate using a chick embryo model.

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Leishmaniasis Research Center, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.
Department of Clinical Science, School of Veterinary Medicine, Shahid Bahonar University of Kerman, Kerman, Iran.
Center of Comparative and Experimental Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.
Obstetrics and Gynecology Center, Afzalipour School of Medicine, Kerman University of Medical Sciences, Kerman, Iran.


Leishmaniasis is one of the diverse and neglected tropical diseases. Embryo-toxicity of drugs has always been a major concern. Chick embryo is a preclinical model relevant in the assessment of adverse effects of drugs. The current study aimed to assess embryonic histopathological disorders and amniotic fluid biochemical changes following meglumine antimoniate treatment. The alteration of vascular branching pattern in the chick's extra-embryonic membrane and exploration of molecular cues to early embryonic vasculogenesis and angiogenesis were also quantified. Embryonated chicken eggs were treated with 75 or 150 mg/kg of meglumine antimoniate. Embryo malformations, growth retardation and haemorrhages on the external body surfaces were accompanied by histopathological lesions in the brain, kidney, liver and heart in a dose-dependent manner. Significant rise occurred in the biochemical indices of alkaline phosphatase, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and amylase in the amniotic fluid. Quantification of the extra-embryonic membrane vasculature showed that the anti-angiogenic and anti-vasculogenic effects of the drug were revealed by a significant decrease in fractal dimension value and mean capillary area. The relative expression levels of vascular endothelial growth factor A and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 mRNA also significantly reduced. Concerns of a probable teratogenicity of meglumine antimoniate were established by data presented in this study. It is concluded that tissue lesions, amniotic fluid disturbance, altered early extra-embryonic vascular development and gene expression as well as the consecutive cascade of events, might eventually lead to developmental defects in embryo following meglumine antimoniate treatment. Therefore, the use of meglumine antimoniate during pregnancy should be considered as potentially embryo-toxic. Hence, physicians should be aware of such teratogenic effects and limit the use of this drug during the growing period of the fetus, particularly in rural communities. Further pharmaceutical investigations are crucial for planning future strategies.

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