Parasitic infections have remained a significant burden on human and animal health. In part, this is due to lack of clinically-approved, novel antimicrobials and a lack of interest by the pharmaceutical industry. An alternative approach is to modify existing clinically-approved drugs for efficient delivery formulations to ensure minimum inhibitory concentration is achieved at the target site. Nanotechnology offers the potential to enhance the therapeutic efficacy of drugs through modification of nanoparticles with ligands. Amphotericin B, nystatin, and fluconazole are clinically available drugs in the treatment of amoebal and fungal infections. These drugs were conjugated with gold nanoparticles. To characterize these gold-conjugated drug, atomic force microscopy, ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy were performed. These drugs and their gold nanoconjugates were examined for antimicrobial activity against the protist pathogen, Acanthamoeba castellanii of the T4 genotype. Moreover, host cell cytotoxicity assays were accomplished. Cytotoxicity of these drugs and drug-conjugated gold nanoparticles was also determined by lactate dehydrogenase assay. Gold nanoparticles conjugation resulted in enhanced bioactivity of all three drugs with amphotericin B producing the most significant effects against Acanthamoeba castellanii (p ＜ 0.05). In contrast, bare gold nanoparticles did not exhibit antimicrobial potency. Furthermore, amoebae treated with drugs-conjugated gold nanoparticles showed reduced cytotoxicity against HeLa cells. In this report, we demonstrated the use of nanotechnology to modify existing clinically-approved drugs and enhance their efficacy against pathogenic amoebae. Given the lack of development of novel drugs, this is a viable approach in the treatment of neglected diseases.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.