Modes of action of Leishmanicidal antimicrobial peptides

Alexandra K. Marr, Bradford S. McGwire, W. Robert McMaster

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

28 Citations (Scopus)


Leishmaniasis is one of the major neglected tropical diseases of the world. It is present in 88 countries with an estimated number of 500,000 cases of visceral leishmaniasis and 1.5 million cases of cutaneous disease. No effective vaccinations are available against leishmaniasis and the efficacy of existing treatments is compromised due to the emergence of drug resistance. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop new compounds with antileishmanial activity. Antimicrobial peptides have potential as novel antileishmanial therapy, either for use alone or in combination with current drug regimens. The modes of action of these peptides against Leishmania includes: membrane disruption leading to necrotic cell death; induction of apoptosis; binding to intracellular target(s); and indirect effects via immunomodulation of host immune cells. This article reviews the mechanisms of action of antimicrobial peptides with leishmanicidal activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1047-1059
Number of pages13
JournalFuture Microbiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • antimicrobial peptide
  • apoptosis
  • immunomodulation
  • Leishmaniasis
  • membrane disruption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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