Acanthamoeba castellanii belonging to the T4 genotype may cause a fatal brain infection known as granulomatous amoebic encephalitis, and the vision-threatening eye infection Acanthamoeba keratitis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antiamoebic effects of three clinically available antidiabetic drugs, Glimepiride, Vildagliptin and Repaglinide, against A. castellanii belonging to the T4 genotype. Furthermore, we attempted to conjugate these drugs with silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) to enhance their antiamoebic effects. Amoebicidal, encystation, excystation, and host cell cytotoxicity assays were performed to unravel any antiacanthamoebic effects. Vildagliptin conjugated silver nanoparticles (Vgt-AgNPs) characterized by spectroscopic techniques and atomic force microscopy were synthesized. All three drugs showed antiamoebic effects against A. castellanii and significantly blocked the encystation. These drugs also showed significant cysticidal effects and reduced host cell cytotoxicity caused by A. castellanii. Moreover, Vildagliptin-coated silver nanoparticles were successfully synthesized and are shown to enhance its antiacanthamoebic potency at significantly reduced concentration. The repurposed application of the tested antidiabetic drugs and their nanoparticles against free-living amoeba such as Acanthamoeba castellanii described here is a novel outcome that holds tremendous potential for future applications against devastating infection.
Central nervous system (CNS) infections caused by free-living amoebae such as Acanthamoeba species and Naegleria fowleri are rare but fatal. A major challenge in the treatment against the infections caused by these amoebae is the discovery of novel compounds that can effectively cross the blood-brain barrier to penetrate the CNS. It is logical to test clinically approved drugs against CNS diseases for their potential antiamoebic effects since they are known for effective blood-brain barrier penetration and affect eukaryotic cell targets. The antiamoebic effects of clinically available drugs for seizures targeting gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) receptor and ion channels were tested against Acanthamoeba castellanii belonging to the T4 genotype and N. fowleri. Three such drugs, namely, diazepam (Valium), phenobarbitone (Luminal), phenytoin (Dilantin), and their silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) were evaluated against both trophozoites and cysts stage. Drugs alone and drug conjugated silver nanoparticles were tested for amoebicidal, cysticidal, and host-cell cytotoxicity assays. Nanoparticles were synthesized by sodium borohydride reduction of silver nitrate with drugs as capping agents. Drug conjugated nanoconjugates were characterized by ultraviolet-visible (UV-vis) and Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopies and atomic force microscopy (AFM). In vitro moebicidal assay showed potent amoebicidal effects for diazepam, phenobarbitone, and phenytoin-conjugated AgNPs as compared to drugs alone against A. castellanii and N. fowleri. Furthermore, both drugs and drug conjugated AgNPs showed compelling cysticidal effects. Drugs conjugations with silver nanoparticles enhanced their antiacanthamoebic activity. Interestingly, amoeba-mediated host-cell cytotoxicity was also significantly reduced by drugs alone as well as their nanoconjugates. Since, these drugs are being used to target CNS diseases, their evaluation against brain-eating amoebae seems feasible due to advantages such as permeability of the blood-brain barrier, established pharmacokinetics and dynamics, and United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. Given the limited availability of effective drugs against brain-eating amoebae, the clinically available drugs tested here present potential for further in vivo studies.
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.
Naegleria fowleri (N. fowleri) causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) which almost always results in death. N. fowleri is also known as "brain-eating amoeba" due to its literal infestation of the brain leading to an inflammatory response in the brain tissues. Currently, there is no single drug that is available to treat PAM, and most treatments are combinations of antifungal, anticancer, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Recently nanotechnology has gained attention in chemotherapeutic research converging on drug delivery, while oleic acid (OA) has shown positive effects on the human immune system and inflammatory processes. In continuation of our recent research in which we reported the effects of oleic acid conjugated with silver nanoparticles (OA-AgNPs) against free-living amoeba Acanthamoeba castellanii, in this report, we show their antiamoebic effects against N. fowleri. OA alone and its nanoconjugates were tested against the amoeba by using amoebicidal and host cell cytopathogenicity assays. Trypan blue exclusion assay was used to determine cell viability. The results revealed that OA-AgNPs exhibited significantly enhanced antiamoebic effects (P < 0.05) against N. fowleri as compared to OA alone. Evidently, lactate dehydrogenase release shows reduced N. fowleri-mediated host cell cytotoxicity. Based on our study, we anticipate that further studies on OA-AgNPs could potentially provide an alternative treatment of PAM.