The free-living amoeba Balamuthia mandrillaris causes usually fatal encephalitis in humans and animals. Only limited studies have investigated the efficacy of antimicrobial agents against the organism. Assay methods were developed to assess antimicrobial efficacy against both the trophozoite and cyst stage of B. mandrillaris (ATCC 50209). Amphotericin B, ciclopirox olamine, miltefosine, natamycin, paromomycin, pentamidine isethionate, protriptyline, spiramycin, sulconazole and telithromycin had limited activity with amoebacidal levels of > 135-500 μM. However, diminazene aceturate (Berenil(®) ) was amoebacidal at 7.8 μM and 31.3-61.5 μM for trophozoites and cysts, respectively. Assays for antimicrobial testing may improve the prognosis for infection and aid in the development of primary selective culture isolation media.
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.
Balamuthia mandrillaris and Naegleria fowleri are free-living amoebae that can cause life-threatening infections involving the central nervous system. The high mortality rates of these infections demonstrate an urgent need for novel treatment options against the amoebae. Considering that indole and thiazole compounds possess wide range of antiparasitic properties, novel bisindole and thiazole derivatives were synthesized and evaluated against the amoebae. The antiamoebic properties of four synthetic compounds i.e., two new bisindoles (2-Bromo-4-(di (1H-indol-3-yl)methyl)phenol (denoted as A1) and 2-Bromo-4-(di (1H-indol-3-yl)methyl)-6-methoxyphenol (A2)) and two known thiazole (4-(3-Nitrophenyl)-2-(2-(pyridin-3-ylmethylene)hydrazinyl)thiazole (A3) and 4-(Biphenyl-4-yl)-2-(2-(1-(pyridin-4-yl)ethylidene)hydrazinyl)thiazole (A4)) were evaluated against B. mandrillaris and N. fowleri. The ability of silver nanoparticle (AgNPs) conjugation to enrich antiamoebic activities of the compounds was also investigated. The synthetic heterocyclic compounds demonstrated up to 53% and 69% antiamoebic activities against B. mandrillaris and N. fowleri respectively, while resulting in up to 57% and 68% amoebistatic activities, respectively. Antiamoebic activities of the compounds were enhanced by up to 71% and 51% against B. mandrillaris and N. fowleri respectively, after conjugation with AgNPs. These compounds exhibited potential antiamoebic effects against B. mandrillaris and N. fowleri and conjugation of synthetic heterocyclic compounds with AgNPs enhanced their activity against the amoebae.
Rotavirus and pathogenic free-living amoebae are causative agents of important health problems, especially for developing countries like Pakistan where the population has limited access to clean water supplies. Here, we evaluated the prevalence of rotavirus and free-living amoebae (Acanthamoeba spp., Balamuthia mandrillaris, Naegleria fowleri) in drinking water supplies of Karachi, Pakistan. Six water filtration plants that supply drinking water to the population of Karachi were investigated. Additionally, drinking water samples from households were analyzed for the presence of rotavirus and free-living amoebae. Rotavirus was present in 35% of the water samples collected from water filtration plants; however, domestic tap water samples had a prevalence of only 5%. Out of 20 water samples from filtration plants, 13 (65%) were positive for Acanthamoeba spp., and one (5%) was positive for B. mandrillaris. Out of 20 drinking water samples collected from different areas of Karachi, 35% were positive for Acanthamoeba spp. Rotavirus was detected in 5% of the drinking water samples tested. Overall, these findings showed for the first time the presence of rotavirus, in addition to pathogenic free-living amoebae in drinking water supplies of Karachi that could be an important public health risk for the affected population.
Acanthamoeba spp. and Balamuthia mandrillaris are causative agents of granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (GAE), while Naegleria fowleri causes primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). PAM is an acute infection that lasts a few days, while GAE is a chronic to subacute infection that can last up to several months. Here, we present a literature review of 86 case reports from 1968 to 2016, in order to explore the affinity of these amoebae for particular sites of the brain, diagnostic modalities, treatment options, and disease outcomes in a comparative manner.
Brain-eating amoebae (Acanthamoeba spp., Balamuthia mandrillaris, Naegleria fowleri) have gained increasing attention owing to their capacity to produce severe human and animal infections involving the brain. Early detection is a pre-requisite in successful prognosis. Here, we developed a nanoPCR assay for the rapid detection of brain-eating amoebae using various nanoparticles. Graphene oxide, copper and alumina nanoparticles used in this study were characterized using Raman spectroscopy measurements through excitation with a He-Ne laser, while powder X-ray diffraction patterns were taken on a PANanalytical, X'Pert HighScore diffractometer and the morphology of the materials was confirmed using high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM). Using nanoparticle-assisted PCR, the results revealed that graphene oxide, copper oxide and alumina nanoparticles significantly enhanced PCR efficiency in the detection of pathogenic free-living amoebae using genus-specific probes. The optimal concentration of graphene oxide, copper oxide and alumina nanoparticles for Acanthamoeba spp. was determined at 0.4, 0.04 and 0.4 μg per mL respectively. For B. mandrillaris, the optimal concentration was determined at 0.4 μg per mL for graphene oxide, copper oxide and alumina nanoparticles, and for Naegleria, the optimal concentration was 0.04, 4.0 and 0.04 μg per mL respectively. Moreover, combinations of these nanoparticles proved to further enhance PCR efficiency. The addition of metal oxide nanoparticles leads to excellent surface effect, while thermal conductivity property of the nanoparticles enhances PCR productivity. These findings suggest that nanoPCR assay has tremendous potential in the clinical diagnosis of parasitic infections as well as for studying epidemiology and pathology and environmental monitoring of other microbes.
Brain-eating amoebae (Acanthamoeba spp., Balamuthia mandrillaris, and Naegleria fowleri) can cause opportunistic infections involving the central nervous system. It is troubling that the mortality rate is more than 90% despite advances in antimicrobial chemotherapy over the last few decades. Here, we describe urgent key priorities for improving outcomes from infections due to brain-eating amoebae.
Balamuthia mandrillaris and Naegleriafowleri are opportunistic protozoan pathogens capable of producing infection of the central nervous system with more than 95% mortality rate. Previously, we have synthesized several compounds with antiamoebic properties; however, synthesis of compounds that are analogues of clinically used drugs is a highly desirable approach that can lead to effective drug development against these devastating infections. In this regard, compounds belonging to the azole class possess wide range of antimicrobial properties and used clinically. In this study, six novel benzimidazole, indazole, and tetrazole derivatives were synthesized and tested against brain-eating amoebae. These compounds were tested for their amoebicidal and static properties against N. fowleri and B. mandrillaris. Furthermore, the compounds were conjugated with silver nanoparticles and characterized. The synthetic heterocyclic compounds showed up to 72% and 65% amoebicidal activities against N. fowleri and B. mandrillaris respectively, while expressing up to 75% and 70% amoebistatic activities, respectively. Following conjugation with silver nanoparticles, amoebicidal activities of the drugs increased by up to 46 and 36% versus B. mandrillaris and N. fowleri. Minimal effects were observed when the compounds were evaluated against human cells using cytotoxicity assays. In summary, azole compounds exhibited potent activity against N. fowleri and B. mandrillaris. Moreover, conjugation of the azole compounds with silver nanoparticles further augmented the capabilities of the compounds against amoebae.
Balamuthia mandrillaris and Naegleria fowleri are free-living amoebae that cause infection of the central nervous system, granulomatous amoebic encephalitis (GAE) and primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), respectively. The fact that mortality rates for cases of GAE and PAM are more than 95% indicates the need for new therapeutic agents against those amoebae. Considering that curcumin exhibits a wide range of biological properties and has shown efficacy against Acanthamoeba castellanii, we evaluated the amoebicidal properties of curcumin against N. fowleri and B. mandrillaris. Curcumin showed significant amoebicidal activities with an AC50 of 172 and 74 μM against B. mandrillaris and N. fowleri, respectively. Moreover, these compounds were also conjugated with gold nanoparticles to further increase their amoebicidal activities. After conjugation with gold nanoparticles, amoebicidal activities of the drugs were increased by up to 56 and 37% against B. mandrillaris and N. fowleri, respectively. These findings are remarkable and suggest that clinically available curcumin and our gold-conjugated curcumin nanoparticles hold promise in the improved treatment of fatal infections caused by brain-eating amoebae and should serve as a model in the rationale development of therapeutic interventions against other infections.
Naegleria fowleri and Balamuthia mandrillaris are protist pathogens that infect the central nervous system, causing primary amoebic meningoencephalitis and granulomatous amoebic encephalitis with mortality rates of over 95%. Quinazolinones and their derivatives possess a wide spectrum of biological properties, but their antiamoebic effects against brain-eating amoebae have never been tested before. In this study, we synthesized a variety of 34 novel arylquinazolinones derivatives (Q1-Q34) by altering both quinazolinone core and aryl substituents. To study the antiamoebic activity of these synthetic arylquinazolinones, amoebicidal and amoebistatic assays were performed against N. fowleri and B. mandrillaris. Moreover, amoebae-mediated host cells cytotopathogenicity and cytotoxicity assays were performed against human keratinocytes cells in vitro. The results revealed that selected arylquinazolinones derivatives decreased the viability of B. mandrillaris and N. fowleri significantly (P < 0.05) and reduced cytopathogenicity of both parasites. Furthermore, these compounds were also found to be least cytotoxic against HaCat cells. Considering that nanoparticle-based materials possess potent in vitro activity against brain-eating amoebae, we conjugated quinazolinones derivatives with silver nanoparticles and showed that activities of the drugs were enhanced successfully after conjugation. The current study suggests that quinazolinones alone as well as conjugated with silver nanoparticles may serve as potent therapeutics against brain-eating amoebae.
Brain-eating amoebae including Acanthamoeba spp., Naegleria fowleri, and Balamuthia mandrillaris cause rare infections of the central nervous system that almost always result in death. The high mortality rate, lack of interest for drug development from pharmaceutical industries, and no available effective drugs present an alarming challenge. The current drugs employed in the management and therapy of these devastating diseases are amphotericin B, miltefosine, chlorhexidine, pentamidine, and voriconazole which are generally used in combination. However, clinical evidence shows that these drugs have limited efficacy and high host cell cytotoxicity. Repurposing of drugs is a practical approach to utilize commercially available, U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved drugs for one disease against rare diseases caused by brain-eating amoebae. In this Perspective, we highlight some of the success stories of drugs repositioned against neglected parasitic diseases and identify future potential for effective and sustainable drug development against brain-eating amoebae infections.