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Overcoming the Challenge; In Vivo Efficacy of Miltefosine for Chronic Cutaneous Leishmaniasis



Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (CL) is the most common form of leishmaniasis. CL can be divided into two major groups: acute CL (ACL) and chronic CL (CCL). The aim of this study is to compare the efficacy of miltefosin and pentavalent antimony compounds in vivo with the CCL patient samples.


Three study groups were formed, each consisting of five male Mus musculus (Balb/C) mice. In this model, promastigotes from the culture of a CCL patient were utilized. 100 μL L. tropica promastigote suspension with a density of 108 promastigotes/ml were injected into the hint-right footpad of each experimental animal intradermally. Footpads of the mice were measured every two weeks until 24th week. From the 13th week, miltefosin 50 mg/kg/day was administered orally using gavage for 21 days, Meglumin antimoniate (MA) was administered by intramuscular (IM) injection daily for 21 days at 50 mg/kg/day and saline was administered IM for 21 days for the miltefosine, MA and control group, respectively.


The footpad measurements of the miltefosine group were lower than the control group statistically. Between the MA group and the miltefosine group and MA group and the control group, there was no statistically significant difference. Giemsa stained slides revealed amastigotes in one, two and all of the slides for the miltefosine, MA and control group, respectively. Molecular tests were performed with the Rotor-Gene device and L. tropica consistent peaks were obtained in one of the miltefosine group, four in the MA group and all mice in the control group.


Demonstration of both clinical and laboratory improvement in four of the five experimental animals provides strong evidence that miltefosine is an effective drug in the treatment of CCL. In the literature, no clinical or laboratory studies using miltefosine have been performed with CCL patients only.

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The authors would like to thank Ege University Research Funds for funding this research, and ‘Parasite Bank’ in Celal Bayar University Faculty of Medicine for keeping and supplying the isolates.


This project was supported by Research Funds of Ege University with the Project no: 17-TIP-017.

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Correspondence to Varol Tunalı.

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This study was approved by the Celal Bayar University Local Ethical Committee for Laboratory Animals (No: 77.637.435‐55‐27.09.2016).

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Tunalı, V., Harman, M., Çavuş, İ. et al. Overcoming the Challenge; In Vivo Efficacy of Miltefosine for Chronic Cutaneous Leishmaniasis. Acta Parasit. 66, 354–360 (2021).

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  • Cutaneous leishmaniasis
  • Drug resistance
  • Animal model
  • Turkey