Free-living amoebae include Acanthamoeba castellanii and Naegleria fowleri that are opportunistic protozoa responsible for life-threatening central nervous system infections with mortality rates over 90%. The rising number of cases and high mortality rates are indicative of the critical unmet need for the development of efficient drugs in order to avert future deaths. In this study, we assess the anti-amoebic capacity of a conducting polymer nanocomposite comprising polyaniline (PANI) and hexagonal boron nitride (hBN) against A. castellanii and N. fowleri. We observed significant amoebicidal and cysticidal effects using 100 μg/mL PANI/hBN (P < 0.05). Further, the nanocomposite demonstrated negligible cytotoxicity toward HaCaT and primary human corneal epithelial cells (pHCECs). In evaluating the mode of inhibition of A. castellanii due to treatment with PANI/hBN, increased intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) was measured and scanning microscopy visualized the formation of pores in the amoebae. Overall, this study is suggestive of the potential of the PANI/hBN nanocomposite as a promising therapy for amoeba infections.
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