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Journal of Parasitology Research
Volume 2014, Article ID 187640, 10 pages
Research Article

Novel Arsenic Nanoparticles Are More Effective and Less Toxic than As (III) to Inhibit Extracellular and Intracellular Proliferation of Leishmania donovani

1Department of Biochemistry, University of Calcutta, Kolkata 700019, India
2Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur 721302, India

Received 14 August 2014; Revised 21 November 2014; Accepted 24 November 2014; Published 31 December 2014

Academic Editor: Barbara Papadopoulou

Copyright © 2014 Sudipta Chakraborty et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Visceral leishmaniasis, a vector-borne tropical disease that is threatening about 350 million people worldwide, is caused by the protozoan parasite Leishmania donovani. Metalloids like arsenic and antimony have been used to treat diseases like leishmaniasis caused by the kinetoplastid parasites. Arsenic (III) at a relatively higher concentration (30 μg/mL) has been shown to have antileishmanial activity, but this concentration is reported to be toxic in several experimental mammalian systems. Nanosized metal (0) particles have been shown to be more effective than their higher oxidation state forms. There is no information so far regarding arsenic nanoparticles (As-NPs) as an antileishmanial agent. We have tested the antileishmanial properties of the As-NPs, developed for the first time in our laboratory. As-NPs inhibited the in vitro growth, oxygen consumption, infectivity, and intramacrophage proliferation of L. donovani parasites at a concentration which is about several fold lower than that of As (III). Moreover, this antileishmanial activity has comparatively less cytotoxic effect on the mouse macrophage cell line. It is evident from our findings that As-NPs have more potential than As (III) to be used as an antileishmanial agent.