ABSTRACT: Artesunate is one of the main antimalarial drugs used in several countries. It is a semisynthetic compound derived from artemisinin, a substance extracted from the Chinese plant, Artemisia annua L. Despite the widespread use of artesunate as an antimalarial drug, there is a lack of data regarding its genotoxic effects in human lymphocytes. Therefore, in this study, we used the comet assay and micronucleus test to evaluate the possible genotoxic effects of artesunate in cultured human lymphocytes. In addition, cell death by necrosis and apoptosis was also assessed. Cells exposed to different concentrations of artesunate showed a significant concentration-dependent increase (P < 0.05) in DNA damage index and micronuclei frequency. A significant increase in the frequency of apoptotic and necrotic cells was also observed. Our results showed that artesunate is a genotoxic and cytotoxic compound in cultured human lymphocytes.
Environmental and Molecular Mutagenesis 08/2011; 52(7):590-4. · 3.71 Impact Factor