The Effect of Iodium 30c on Experimental Visceral Leishmaniasis

Background – Leishmaniasis is one of several neglected tropical diseases that warrant serious attention. A disease of socio-economically poor people, it demands safer and cheaper drugs that help to overcome the limitations faced by the existing anti-leishmanials. Complementary or traditional medicines might be a good option, with an added advantage that resistance may not develop against these drugs. Thus, the present investigation was performed to evaluate the anti-leishmanial efficacy of an ultra-diluted homeopathic medicine (Iodium 30c) in experimental visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Methods Compliant with strict ethical standards in animal experimentation, the study was performed in-vivo in inbred BALB/c mice which were injected intravenously with 1 × 107 promastigotes of Leishmania donovani before (therapeutic) or after (prophylactic) treatment with Iodium 30c for 30 days. In other groups of mice (n = 6 per group), amphotericin B served as positive control, infected animals as the disease control, while the naïve controls included normal animals; animals receiving only Iodium 30c or Alcohol 30c served as sham controls. The anti-leishmanial efficacy was assessed by determining the hepatic parasite load and analysing percentages of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Biochemical analysis and histological studies were performed to check any toxicities. Results – Iodium-treated animals showed a significantly reduced parasite load (to 1503 ± 39 Leishman Donovan Units, LDU) as compared with the infected controls (4489 ± 256 LDU) (p < 0.05): thus, the mean therapeutic efficacy of Iodium 30c was 66.5%. In addition, the population of CD4+ and CD8+ T cells was significantly increased (p < 0.05) after treatment. No toxicity was observed, as evidenced from biochemical and histopathological studies of the liver and kidneys. Efficacy of Iodium 30c prophylaxis was 58.3%, while the therapeutic efficacy of amphotericin B was 85.9%. Conclusion – This original study has shown that Iodium 30c had significant impact in controlling parasite replication in experimental VL, though the effect was less than that using standard pharmaceutical treatment.

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