Balamuthia mandrillaris is a protist pathogen that can cause encephalitis with a mortality rate of more than 95%. Early diagnosis followed by aggressive treatment is a pre-requisite for successful prognosis. Current methods for identifying this organism rely on culture and microscopy, antibody-based methods using animals, or involve the use of molecular tools that are expensive. Here, we describe the isolation of antibody fragments that can be used for the unequivocal identification of B. mandrillaris. B. mandrillaris-specific antibody fragments were isolated from a bacteriophage antibody display library. Individual clones were studied by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and immunofluorescence. Four antibody clones showed specific binding to B. mandrillaris. The usefulness of phage antibody display technology as a diagnostic tool for isolating antibody fragments against B. mandrillaris antigens and studying their biological role(s) is discussed further.
Acanthamoeba sp. is a free-living amoeba known to cause chronic central nervous system infection or eye infection in humans. Many cases remain undetected for want of a good detection system. We report for the first time a rapid staining method to facilitate the identification of Acanthamoeba sp. using the modified Field's staining technique. A. castellanii, which was used in the present experiment, is maintained in our laboratory in mycological peptone medium (Gibco). The cultures were pooled together and smears were made on glass slides for staining purposes. Different types of stains such as Field's stain, modified Field's stain, Wright's stain, Giemsa stain, Ziehl-Neelsen stain, and trichrome stain were used to determine the best stain for the identification of this amoeba. The concentration of various stains and the duration of staining were varied to provide the best color and contrast for each stain. Acanthamoeba was also obtained from the brain of experimentally infected mice and was stained with various stains as mentioned above to determine the best stain for use in identifying the presence of this parasite in experimentally infected animals. The modified Field's stain gives a very good color contrast as compared with other stains. Furthermore, it takes only 20 s to be carried out using the least number of reagents, making it suitable for both laboratory and field use.
Pathogenic free-living amoeba are known to cause a devastating infection of the central nervous system and are often referred to as "brain-eating amoebae". The mortality rate of more than 90% and free-living nature of these amoebae is a cause for concern. It is distressing that the mortality rate has remained the same over the past few decades, highlighting the lack of interest by the pharmaceutical industry. With the threat of global warming and increased outdoor activities of public, there is a need for renewed interest in identifying potential anti-amoebic compounds for successful prognosis. Here, we discuss the available chemotherapeutic options and opportunities for potential strategies in the treatment and diagnosis of these life-threatening infections.
Independent evaluations of XEh Rapid®, an IgG4-based rapid dipstick test, were performed to assess its diagnostic performance to detect amebic liver abscess (ALA) using 405 samples at seven laboratories in four countries. The test showed high diagnostic specificity (97-100%) when tested with samples from healthy individuals (n = 100) and patients with other diseases (n = 151). The diagnostic sensitivity was tested with a total of 154 samples, and the results were variable. It was high in three laboratories (89-94%), and moderate (72%) and low (38%) in two other laboratories. Challenges and issues faced in the evaluation process are discussed. Nevertheless, XEh Rapid is promising to be developed into a point-of-care test in particular for resource-limited settings, and thus merits further confirmation of its diagnostic sensitivity.
trans-Cinnamic acid (CA) is a natural organic compound. Using amoebicidal assays, for the first time we showed that CA affected the viability of the protist pathogen Acanthamoeba castellanii Conjugation with gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) enhanced the antiamoebic effects of CA. CA-coated AuNPs (CA-AuNPs) also exhibited significant excystation and encystation activity, compared to CA and AuNPs alone. Pretreatment of amoebae with CA-AuNPs inhibited A. castellanii-mediated host cell cytotoxicity. Moreover, CA-AuNPs exhibited potent effects against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and neuropathogenic Escherichia coli K1 and protected host cells against bacteria-mediated host cell death.
Acanthamoeba castellanii is a free-living amoeba which can cause a blinding keratitis and fatal granulomatous amoebic encephalitis. The treatment of Acanthamoeba infections is challenging due to formation of cyst. Quinazolinones are medicinally important scaffold against parasitic diseases. A library of nineteen new 3-aryl-6,7-dimethoxyquinazolin-4(3H)-one derivatives was synthesized to evaluate their antiamoebic activity against Acanthamoeba castellanii. One-pot synthesis of 3-aryl-6,7-dimethoxyquinazolin-4(3H)-ones (1-19) was achieved by reaction of 2-amino-4,5-dimethoxybenzoic acid, trimethoxymethane, and different substituted anilines. These compounds were purified and characterized by standard chromatographic and spectroscopic techniques. Antiacanthamoebic activity of these compounds was determined by amoebicidal, encystation, excystation and host cell cytopathogenicity in vitro assays at concentrations of 50 and 100 μg/mL. The IC50 was found to be between 100 and 50 μg/mL for all the compounds except compound 5 which did not exhibit amoebicidal effects at these concentrations. Furthermore, lactate dehydrogenase assay was also performed to evaluate the in vitro cytotoxicity of these compounds against human keratinocyte (HaCaT) cells. The results revealed that eighteen out of nineteen derivatives of quinazolinones significantly decreased the viability of A. castellanii. Furthermore, eighteen out of nineteen tested compounds inhibited the encystation and excystation, as well as significantly reduced the A. castellanii-mediated cytopathogenicity against human cells. Interestingly, while tested against human normal cell line HaCaT keratinocytes, all compounds did not exhibit any overt cytotoxicity. Furthermore, a detailed structure-activity relationship is also studied to optimize the most potent hit from these synthetic compounds. This report presents several potential lead compounds belonging to 3-aryl-6,7-dimethoxyquinazolin-4(3H)-one derivatives for drug discovery against infections caused by Acanthamoeba castellanii.
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