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Pierre Lutgen's blog

Rotary in support of Artemisia annua

May 3, 2014 - 17:33 -- Pierre Lutgen

In the April 2014 issue the magazine Rotary Contact from Belgium-Luxembourg duly recognized he efforts and results achieved by Rotarians from Ieper and Luxembourg in the promotion of Artemisia annua tea against malaria. Geert Flamang has launched plantations in Katanga and Pierre Lutgen has run clinical trials in several African countries which demonstrate an efficiency of >95%. These trials have allowed to show that the antimalarial potency can be increased by using the dried leaves in lieu of aqueous extracts, as powder in capsules or mixed with food.

Are in vitro antimalarial assays a waste of time?

March 22, 2014 - 08:59 -- Pierre Lutgen

by Patrick Engeu Ogwang and Pierre Lutgen

Most of the assessments on the antimalarial efficacy of a molecule are made in vitro. In the case of plant material the first step is generally the extraction with an organic solvent. The extract is then lyophilized, frozen and stored for subsequent trials.

Uric acid: emerging as key factor in malaria

February 6, 2014 - 17:09 -- Pierre Lutgen

Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes contain large quantities of uric acid precipitates. These precipitates are present in the parasitophorous vacuole, in the cytoplasm, not in the food vacuole of the parasite. Uric acid precipitates are highly inflammatory molecules that are considered a danger signal for innate immunity and are the causative agent of gout. Hypoxanthine is a metabolic precursor of uric acid and is essential for Plasmodium growth. It is transformed by the xanthine oxidase into xanthine the true precursor of uric acid.

Palestinians discover local plant with surprisingly strong antimalarial properties.

January 20, 2014 - 13:25 -- Pierre Lutgen

The research team from the Al Quds University has already shown that some plants from Palestine have a strong inhibitory effect on beta-hematin crystallisation. Salvia officinalis (M Akkawi et al., Malaria Journal, 2012, 11-Suppl,P3) and Artemisiasieberi from Palestine ( M Akkawi et al. Brit J Pharmacol Toxicol, accepted 2013). The therapeutic effect of quinine, chloroquine, amodiaquine is precisely based on hemozoin inhibition.

The digestive vacuole and malaria resistance ; the weakness of artesunate.

January 9, 2014 - 11:04 -- Pierre Lutgen

The diffusion of antimalarials into infected red blood cells has been studied by several authors. For example, three times more chloroquine accumulates in CQ sensitive strains than in the CQ resistant ones (KJ Saliba et al., Biochem Pharmacol. 1998, Aug 1 ;56, 313-20) Thediffusion of artemisinin into parasitized RBCs was found to be rapid, saturable, temperature dependent, irreversible. In contrast, simple passive diffusion of artemisinin was seen in nonparasitized RBCs.(N Vyas, Antimicro Ag Chemother, Jan 2002, 105-109).

Artemisia ketone, phytosterols and lipid metabolism.

September 11, 2013 - 18:35 -- Pierre Lutgen

Artemisia ketone is the major constituent of essential oil of many artemisia plants, often up to 60 %. A lot of research work has been devoted to other constituents like artemisinin, scopoletine, limonene, eucalyptol, borneol, luteolin, eupatin, casticin, but artemisia ketone is completely absent in the scientific literature. The molecule had been discovered in Artemisia annua in 1938 ( WA Jacobs et al., Annual Review of Biochemistry 7,1-193) but then fell into oblivion.

Artemisia annua tea stronger than chloroquine !

August 10, 2013 - 18:22 -- Pierre Lutgen

Recent results obtained at the AlQuds University in partnership with IFBV-BELHERB from Luxembourg show that freshly prepared infusion of Artemisia annua is stronger than chloroquine in the inhibition of beta-hematin (hemozoin) formation. In the infected erythrocyte the malaria parasite generates large quantities of toxic heme which it has to render innocuous by polymerizing it into hemozoin. The mechanism of quinine and all its derivates, chloroquine, amodiaquine operates by inhibiting this hemozoin crystallization.

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