The development of vaccines and drugs to control leishmaniasis is urgently needed. The presence of a leishmania transferrin receptor on the parasite suggests that an adequate supply of iron is needed for the life cycle of leishmania. We haveinvestigated the effect of iron deprivation on the growth of leishmania promastigotes in vitro using an iron chelation approach. All chelators tested reduced the rate of promastigote multiplication in a dose-dependent fashion, whereas referrated ones did not. The hydroxypyridin-4-one chelators CP94 and LI were found to be more efficient than desferrioxamine. We suggest that iron depletion may be an effective mechanism against leishmania infection.

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