In vitro and in vivo anti-parasitic activity of biogenic antimony sulfide nanoparticles on Leishmania major (MRHO/IR/75/ER)

  • Sina Mohtasebi
  • Mehdi MohebaliEmail author
  • Samira Elikaee
  • Behnaz Akhoundi
  • Abbas Rahimi Foroushani
  • Aref Teimouri
  • Hamed Yarizadeh
Protozoology - Original Paper


The aims of this study were to produce biogenic antimony sulfide nanoparticles (NPs) using Serratia marcescens (S. marcescens) and investigate the potential anti-leishmanial effects of these NPs on Leishmania major (L. major) (MRHO/IR/75/ER) in both in vitro and in vivo experiments. Biogenic antimony sulfide NPs were synthesized through intracellular biological methods using S. marcescens. The efficiency of various concentrations of antimony sulfide NPs was assessed using in vitro experiments on amastigotes of L. major at various times post-infection. In vivo experiments were carried out in BALB/c mice inoculated subcutaneously with 2 × 106L. major promastigotes (MHROM/IR/75/ER) and treated with antimony sulfide NPs (70 μg/mL, tropically), meglumine antimoniate (glucantime) as positive control and sterile phosphate-buffered saline (PBS, pH 7.4) as vehicle control. Results of in vitro experiments revealed that the anti-leishmanial activity increased when the antimony sulfide NPs concentration increased. The IC50 (50% inhibitory concentration) of antimony sulfide NPs against amastigotes was calculated as 62.5 μg/mL. In in vivo experiments, the average size of lesions significantly decreased to 8.6 ± 2.7 mm2 in mice inoculated with L. major promastigotes and treated with antimony sulfide NPs, compared with that in the negative control group (P = 0.015). Furthermore, results showed that antimony sulfide NPs significantly decreased the parasite load in the test group, compared with the negative control group (P = 0.001). Various concentrations of antimony sulfide NPs showed a great anti-leishmanial efficiency against L. major (MRHO/IR/75/ER), with the greatest efficiency shown by a concentration of 62.5 μg/mL in in vitro and in vivo experiments.


Anti-leishmanial activity Biogenic antimony sulfide Biological synthesis Leishmania major Nanoparticles Serratia marcescens 



We would like to acknowledge all staff from the Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Centre, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, for their helpful collaborations.

Availability of data and material

The data that support the findings of this study are available on reasonable request to the corresponding author.

Funding information

This study was supported by the Tehran University of Medical Sciences and Health Services (Project No. 94-03-160-30138), Tehran, Iran.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethics approval

Animal care and experiments were carried out according to the Guidelines for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals published by the United States National Institutes of Health and approved by the Ethical Committee of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran. The study was approved by the Ethical Committee of Tehran University of Medical Sciences (Approval No. 94-03-160-30138).

Consent for publication

Not applicable (no individual persons data)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sina Mohtasebi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mehdi Mohebali
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Samira Elikaee
    • 1
  • Behnaz Akhoundi
    • 1
  • Abbas Rahimi Foroushani
    • 4
  • Aref Teimouri
    • 1
  • Hamed Yarizadeh
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Parasitology and Mycology, School of Public HealthTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Students Scientific Research CenterTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  3. 3.Research Center for Endemic ParasitesTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  4. 4.Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public HealthTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran

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