Lupeol induces immunity and protective efficacy in a murine model against visceral leishmaniasis.
Parasitology. 2019 Sep ;146(11):1440-1450. Epub 2019 Jun 13. PMID: 31104636
The available chemotherapeutics for the cure of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) are linked with many detrimental effects. Moreover, VL is associated with the suppression of protective Th1 immune response of the host and induction of disease exaggerating Th2 immune response. Therefore, there is an urgent requirement of therapeutics which can augment the immune status of the host to cure this disease. In the current investigation, the antileishmanial potential of lupeol was monitored in vitro and in vivo in inbred BALB/c mice against Leishmania donovani. Lupeol showed potent antipromastigote activity via arresting parasites at sub G0/G1 phase in vitro. Lupeol significantly decreased the splenic parasite burden by inducing strong delayed-type hypersensitivity responses in contrary to untreated infected animals. The therapeutic efficacy of lupeol was observed to be similar to the reference drug, AmB. Treatment of infected animals with lupeol depicted enhanced levels of T cells and Th1 cytokines in contrast to only infected controls. Further lupeol treatment upregulated the levels of nuclear factorκ B and nitric oxide synthase genes and elevated the production of reactive oxygen species and nitric oxide. Unlike AmB, lupeol-treated infected animals did not show any toxicity. These findings are promising and indicate that lupeol can serve as a prototype drug for the cure of VL.