Here we describe features of apoptosis in unicellular Acanthamoeba castellanii belonging to the T4 genotype. When exposed to apoptosis-inducing compounds such as doxorubicin, A. castellanii trophozoites exhibited cell shrinkage and membrane blebbing as observed microscopically, DNA fragmentation using agarose gel electrophoresis, and phosphatidylserine (PS) externalization using annexin V immunostaining. Overall, these findings suggest the existence of apoptosis in A. castellanii possibly mediated by intrinsic apoptotic cascade. Further research in this field could provide avenues to selectively induce apoptosis in A. castellanii by triggering intrinsic apoptotic cascade.
Cassia angustifolia Vahl. plant is used for many therapeutic purposes, for example, in people with constipation, skin diseases, including helminthic and parasitic infections. In our study, we demonstrated an amoebicidal activity of C. angustifolia extract against Acanthamoeba triangularis trophozoite at a micromolar level. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) images displayed morphological changes in the Acanthamoeba trophozoite, which included the formation of pores in cell membrane and the membrane rupture. In addition to the amoebicidal activity, effects of the extract on surviving trophozoites were observed, which included cyst formation and vacuolization by a microscope and transcriptional expression of Acanthamoeba autophagy in response to the stress by quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Our data showed that the surviving trophozoites were not transformed into cysts and the trophozoite number with enlarged vacuole was not significantly different from that of untreated control. Molecular analysis data demonstrated that the mRNA expression of AcATG genes was slightly changed. Interestingly, AcATG16 decreased significantly at 12 h post treatment, which may indicate a transcriptional regulation by the extract or a balance of intracellular signalling pathways in response to the stress, whereas AcATG3 and AcATG8b remained unchanged. Altogether, these data reveal the anti-Acanthamoeba activity of C. angustifolia extract and the autophagic response in the surviving trophozoites under the plant extract pressure, along with data on the formation of cysts. These represent a promising plant for future drug development. However, further isolation and purification of an active compound and cytotoxicity against human cells are needed, including a study on the autophagic response at the protein level.
A total of 10 out of 65 cornea swab samples from cats with eye symptoms showed Acanthamoeba-like morphology after cultivation. By PCR and DNA sequencing of Acanthamoeba diagnostic fragment 3 (DF3), all 10 isolates from the positive samples were categorized into two homologous groups of AfC1 (PM1, PM2, PM3, PF6, KM7, KF8, KMK9) and AfC2 (PM4, PM5, KFK10) due to the presence of bases A(354) and G(354), respectively. Furthermore, DF3 of AfC1 and AfC2 showed 100% similarity with Genbank reference isolates with the accession numbers DQ087314, EU146073 and U07401, GU808323, which were Acanthamoeba castellanii strains genotype T4 originating from human keratitis. This finding suggests that A. castellani strains have the capability to infect cats and human under favorable conditions.
Acanthamoeba causes diseases such as Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) which leads to permanent blindness and granulomatous Acanthamoeba encephalitis (GAE) where there is formation of granulomas in the brain. Current treatments such as chlorhexidine, diamidines, and azoles either exhibit undesirable side effects or require immediate and prolonged treatment for the drug to be effective or prevent relapse. Previously, antifungal drugs amphotericin B, nystatin, and fluconazole-conjugated silver with nanoparticles have shown significantly increased activity against Acanthamoeba castellanii. In this study, two functionally diverse tetrazoles were synthesized, namely 5-(3-4-dimethoxyphenyl)-1H-tetrazole and 1-(3-methoxyphenyl)-5-phenoxy-1H-tetrazole, denoted by T1 and T2 respectively. These compounds were evaluated for anti-Acanthamoeba effects at different concentrations ranging from 5 to 50 μM. Furthermore, these compounds were conjugated with silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) to enhance their efficacy. Particle size analysis showed that T1-AgNPs and T2-AgNPs had an average size of 52 and 70 nm respectively. After the successful synthesis and characterization of tetrazoles and tetrazole-conjugated AgNPs, they were subjected to anti-Acanthamoeba studies. Amoebicidal assay showed that at concentration 10 μM and above, T2 showed promising antiamoebic activities between the two compounds while encystation and excystation assays reveal that both T1 and T2 have inhibited differentiation activity against Acanthamoeba castellanii. Conjugation of T1 and T2 to AgNP also increased efficacy of tetrazoles as anti-Acanthamoeba agents. This may be due to the increased bioavailability as AgNP allows better delivery of treatment compounds to A. castellanii. Human cell cytotoxicity assay revealed that tetrazoles and AgNPs are significantly less toxic towards human cells compared with chlorhexidine which is known to cause undesirable side effects. Cytopathogenicity assay also revealed that T2 conjugated with AgNPs significantly reduced cytopathogenicity of A. castellanii compared with T2 alone, suggesting that T2-conjugated AgNP is an effective and safe anti-Acanthamoeba agent. The use of a synthetic azole compound conjugated with AgNPs can be an alternative strategy for drug development against A. castellanii. However, mechanistic and in vivo studies are needed to explore further translational values.
Infectious diseases are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality, killing more than 15 million people worldwide. This is despite our advances in antimicrobial chemotherapy and supportive care. Nanoparticles offer a promising technology to enhance drug efficacy and formation of effective vehicles for drug delivery. Here, we conjugated amphotericin B, nystatin (macrocyclic polyenes), and fluconazole (azole) with silver nanoparticles. Silver-conjugated drugs were synthesized successfully and characterized by ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and atomic force microscopy. Conjugated and unconjugated drugs were tested against Acanthamoeba castellanii belonging to the T4 genotype using amoebicidal assay and host cell cytotoxicity assay. Viability assays revealed that silver nanoparticles conjugated with amphotericin B (Amp-AgNPs) and nystatin (Nys-AgNPs) exhibited significant antiamoebic properties compared with drugs alone or AgNPs alone (P
Acanthamoeba is an opportunistic protist pathogen that is responsible for serious human and animal infection. Being one of the most frequently isolated protists from the environment, it is likely that it readily encounters microaerophilic environments. For respiration under anaerobic or low oxygen conditions in several amitochondriate protists, decarboxylation of pyruvate is catalyzed by pyruvate ferredoxin oxidoreductase instead of pyruvate dehydrogenase. In support, Nitazoxanide, an inhibitor of pyruvate ferredoxin oxidoreductase, is effective and non-mutagenic clinically against a range of amitochondriate protists, Giardia intestinalis, Entamoeba histolytica and Trichomonas vaginalis. The overall aim of the present study was to determine in vitro efficacy of Nitazoxanide against Acanthamoeba castellanii. At micromolar concentrations, the findings revealed that Nitazoxanide neither affected A. castellanii growth or viability nor amoeba-mediated host cell monolayer damage in vitro or extracellular proteolytic activities. Similarly, microaerophilic conditions alone had no significant effects. In contrast, microaerophilic conditions together with Nitazoxanide showed amoebicidal effects and inhibited A. castellanii-mediated host cell monolayer damage as well as extracellular proteases. Using encystation assays, it was observed that Nitazoxanide inhibited trophozoite transformation into cysts both under aerophilic and microaerophilic conditions. Furthermore, pre-treatment of cysts with Nitazoxanide inhibited A. castellanii excystation. These findings are important in the identification of potential targets that could be useful against parasite-specific respiration as well as to understand the basic biology of the life cycle of Acanthamoeba.