Acanthamoeba cysts are highly resistant to contact lens disinfecting solutions. Acanthamoeba cyst wall is partially made of 1,4 β-glucan (i.e., cellulose) and other complex polysaccharides making it a hardy shell that protects the resident amoeba. Here, we hypothesize that targeting the cyst wall structure in addition to antiamoebic compound would improve the efficacy of marketed contact lens disinfecting solutions. Using chlorhexidine as an antiamoebic compound and cellulase enzyme to disrupt cyst wall structure, the findings revealed that combination of both agents abolished viability of Acanthamoeba castellanii cysts and trophozoites. When tested alone, none of the agents nor contact lens disinfecting solutions completely destroyed A. castellanii cysts and trophozoites. The absence of cyst wall-degrading enzymes in marketed contact lens disinfecting solutions render them ineffective against Acanthamoeba cysts. It is concluded that the addition of cyst wall degrading molecules in contact lens disinfecting solutions will enhance their efficacy in decreasing the incidence of Acanthamoeba effectively.
Acanthamoeba castellanii is the causative agent of blinding keratitis. Though reported in non-contact lens wearers, it is most frequently associated with improper use of contact lens. For contact lens wearers, amoebae attachment to the lens is a critical first step, followed by amoebae binding to the corneal epithelial cells during extended lens wear. Acanthamoeba attachment to surfaces (biological or inert) and migration is an active process and occurs during the trophozoite stage. Thus retaining amoebae in the cyst stage (dormant form) offers an added preventative measure in impeding parasite traversal from the contact lens onto the cornea. Here, we showed that as low as 3% DMSO, abolished A. castellanii excystation. Based on the findings, it is proposed that DMSO should be included in the contact lens disinfectants as an added preventative strategy against contracting Acanthamoeba keratitis.