Adv Pharm Bull. 2021;11(2): 261-266.
doi: 10.34172/apb.2021.038
  Abstract View: 466
  PDF Download: 134

Review Article

Time to Change Theory; Medical Leech from a Molecular Medicine Perspective Leech Salivary Proteins Playing a Potential Role in Medicine

Amir Shakouri 1* ORCID logo, Uwe Wollina 2 ORCID logo

1 Drug Applied Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.
2 Department of Dermatology and Allergology, Academic Teaching Hospital Dresden-Friedrichstadt, Dresden, Germany.
*Corresponding Author: Amir Shakouri, Email: shakouri.a@tbzmed.ac.ir


Followed by developing modern medicine, leeches did not have extensive use as before; however, in the late 19th century, they were still used in most countries all over the world. Thus far, leeches were utilized in treating various diseases like skin disorders, arthritis, and cancer. In Egypt, using leeches for treatment dates back to early 1500 BC. A medical leech’s salivary glands involve over 100 bioactive proteins and the salivary gland secretion contains bacteriostatic, analgesic, and anticoagulation influences; with resolving activity, it causes microcirculation disorders elimination, restoring the hurt vascular permeability of organs and tissues, removing hypoxia, decreasing blood pressure and detoxifying the organism by antioxidant paths. The current work reviews the innovative treatment with medical leech, especially proteins in leech saliva extraction (LSE) with high potential in medicine. The virtue of salivary gland secretions which are proteinaceous enzymes, leech acts on various diseases such as venous congestion in reconstructive and plastic surgery, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular diseases caused by blood coagulation disorders, pain management, priapism, macroglossia, cancer complications, wounds and many other. To confirm the potential therapeutic impacts of leech treatment, more studies are required in more extensive areas with more exact methodologies.
Keywords: Leech saliva, Medical leeches, Protein, Anti- cancer, Cancer
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Submitted: 18 May 2020
Revision: 30 Jun 2020
Accepted: 04 Jul 2020
ePublished: 26 Jul 2020
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