Earlier studies in this laboratory have shown the potential of artemisinin-curcumin combination therapy in experimental malaria. In a parasite recrudescence model in mice infected with Plasmodium berghei (ANKA), a single dose of alpha,beta-arteether (ART) with three oral doses of curcumin prevented recrudescence, providing almost 95% protection. The parasites were completely cleared in blood with ART-alone (AE) or ART+curcumin (AC) treatments in the short-term, although the clearance was faster in the latter case involving increased ROS generation. But, parasites in liver and spleen were not cleared in AE or AC treatments, perhaps, serving as a reservoir for recrudescence. Parasitemia in blood reached up to 60% in AE-treated mice during the recrudescence phase, leading to death of animals. A transient increase of up to 2-3% parasitemia was observed in AC-treatment, leading to protection and reversal of splenomegaly. A striking increase in spleen mRNA levels for TLR2, IL-10 and IgG-subclass antibodies but a decrease in those for INFγ and IL-12 was observed in AC-treatment. There was a striking increase in IL-10 and IgG subclass antibody levels but a decrease in INFγ levels in sera leading to protection against recrudescence. AC-treatment failed to protect against recrudescence in TLR2-/- and IL-10-/- animals. IL-10 injection to AE-treated wild type mice and AC-treated TLR2-/- mice was able to prolong survival. Blood from the recrudescence phase in AE-treatment, but not from AC-treatment, was able to reinfect and kill naïve animals. Sera from the recrudescence phase of AC-treated animals reacted with several parasite proteins compared to that from AE-treated animals. It is proposed that activation of TLR2-mediated innate immune response leading to enhanced IL-10 production and generation of anti-parasite antibodies contribute to protective immunity in AC-treated mice. These results indicate a potential for curcumin-based combination therapy to be tested for prevention of recrudescence in falciparum and relapse in vivax malaria.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)