Antimony quantification in Leishmania by electrothermal atomic absorption spectroscopy

William L. Roberts, Petrie M. Rainey

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21 Scopus citations


Tri- and pentavalent antimony were quantified in Leishmania mexicana pifanoi amastigotes and promastigotes by atomic absorption spectroscopy with electrothermal atomization. Leishmania grown in axenic culture were treated with either potassium antimony tartrate [Sb(III)] or sodium stibogluconate [Sb(V)]. The parasites were collected, digested with nitric acid, and subjected to atomic absorption spectroscopy. The method was linear from 0 to 7 ng of antimony. The interassay coefficients of variation were 9.6 and 5.7% (N = 5 for 0.52 and 3.7-ng samples of leishmanial antimony, respectively. The limit of detection was 95 pg of antimony. The assay was used to characterize Sb(III) and Sb(V) influx and efflux kinetics. Influx rates were determined at antimony concentrations that produced a 50% inhibition of growth (IC50). The influx rates of Sb(V) into amastigotes and promastigotes were 4.8 and 12 pg/million cells/h, respectively, at 200 μg antimony/ ml. The influx rate of Sb(III) into amastigotes was 41 pg/million cells/h at 20 μg antimony/ml. Influx of Sb(III) into promastigotes at 1 μg antimony/ml was rapid and reached a plateau of 175 pg/million cells in 2 h. Efflux of Sb(III) and Sb(V) from amastigotes and promastigotes exhibited biphasic kinetics. The initial (α) half-life of Sb(V) efflux was less than 4 min and that of Sh(III) was 1-2 h. The apparent terminal (β) half-lives ranged from 7 to 14 h. © 1993 Academic Press, Inc.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalAnalytical Biochemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 15 1993
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biophysics


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