Homeopathy 2021; 110(03): 174-179
DOI: 10.1055/s-0040-1722234
Original Research Article

In Vitro Assessment of Cytoprotective Effects of CANOVA against Cell Death Induced by the Anti-malarial Artesunate – A Preliminary Experiment

1  Laboratory of Human Cytogenetic, Institute of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Pará (UFPA), Belém, Pará, Brazil
1  Laboratory of Human Cytogenetic, Institute of Biological Sciences, Federal University of Pará (UFPA), Belém, Pará, Brazil
› Author Affiliations
Funding This work was supported by the Paraense Amazon Foundation for Research Support, FAPESPA.


Background Artesunate (ATS) is a semi-synthetic compound derived from artemisinin, which is widely accepted in the treatment of malaria. However, there is evidence that ATS, under certain in vitro conditions, induces several impairments to normal cell functions. Canova (CA) is a Brazilian homeopathic formulation indicated for patients with depressed immune system. CA shows both in vitro and in vivo protective effects against mutagenic/carcinogenic compounds. Therefore, we aimed to assess in vitro the cytoprotective effects of CA against the cytotoxicity of ATS in Vero cells.

Methods Viability of Vero cells exposed to ATS was assessed by MTT assay, whereas the anti-cytotoxic effect of CA was evaluated by apoptosis and necrosis quantification with fluorescent dyes.

Results After 24 hours of ATS treatment, a reduction in cell viability was observed at 32 and 64 µg/mL, the latter being statistically significant (p < 0.05) in relation to the negative control. The concentration of 64 µg/mL was chosen for the subsequent experiments. ATS significantly induced both apoptosis and necrosis in Vero cells in relation to controls (p < 0.01). We also observed a statistically significant decrease in the number of apoptotic cells observed in the CA 16% + ATS co-treatment compared with ATS treatment (p < 0.01). Treatment with CA alone also had no influence on either type of cell death.

Conclusion Our results demonstrated that ATS is cytotoxic in the assessed conditions. However, such cytotoxicity was attenuated when the cells were treated simultaneously with ATS and CA.

Publication History

Received: 13 August 2020

Accepted: 30 September 2020

Publication Date:
04 March 2021 (online)

© 2021. Faculty of Homeopathy. This article is published by Thieme.

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