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  1. Siddiqui R, Ali IK, Cope JR, Khan NA
    Acta Trop, 2016 Dec;164:375-394.
    PMID: 27616699 DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2016.09.009
    Naegleria fowleri is a protist pathogen that can cause lethal brain infection. Despite decades of research, the mortality rate related with primary amoebic meningoencephalitis owing to N. fowleri remains more than 90%. The amoebae pass through the nose to enter the central nervous system killing the host within days, making it one of the deadliest opportunistic parasites. Accordingly, we present an up to date review of the biology and pathogenesis of N. fowleri and discuss needs for future research against this fatal infection.
    Matched MeSH terms: Central Nervous System Protozoal Infections/parasitology*
  2. Khan NA, Ong TYY, Siddiqui R
    ACS Chem Neurosci, 2017 04 19;8(4):687-688.
    PMID: 28225265 DOI: 10.1021/acschemneuro.7b00049
    Brain infections due to Acanthamoeba spp., Balamuthia mandrillaris, and Naegleria fowleri often lead to death. Despite differences in the preferential sites of infection in the brain, the mode of delivery of drugs is often intravenous. Here, we discuss targeted therapeutic approach to affect parasite viability without affecting the host cells, with an eye to improve formulation of drugs and/or administration of drugs against brain-eating amoebae.
    Matched MeSH terms: Central Nervous System Protozoal Infections/drug therapy*
  3. Mungroo MR, Anwar A, Khan NA, Siddiqui R
    ACS Omega, 2020 Jun 02;5(21):12467-12475.
    PMID: 32548431 DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.0c01305
    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.
    Matched MeSH terms: Central Nervous System Protozoal Infections
  4. Siddiqui R, Rajendran K, Abdella B, Ayub Q, Lim SY, Khan NA
    Parasitol Res, 2020 Jul;119(7):2351-2358.
    PMID: 32451717 DOI: 10.1007/s00436-020-06711-6
    Naegleria fowleri causes a deadly infection known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). To our knowledge, there are very few transcriptome studies conducted on these brain-eating amoebae, despite rise in the number of cases. Although the Naegleria genome has been sequenced, currently, it is not well annotated. Transcriptome level studies are needed to help understand the pathology and biology of this fatal parasitic infection. Recently, we showed that nanoparticles loaded with the flavonoid Hesperidin (HDN) are potential novel antimicrobial agents. N. fowleri trophozoites were treated with and without HDN-conjugated with silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) and silver only, and then, 50% minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was determined. The results revealed that the MIC of HDN-conjugated AgNPs was 12.5 microg/mL when treated for 3 h. As no reference genome exists for N. fowleri, de novo RNA transcriptome analysis using RNA-Seq and differential gene expression analysis was performed using the Trinity software. Analysis revealed that more than 2000 genes were differentially expressed in response to N. fowleri treatment with HDN-conjugated AgNPs. Some of the genes were linked to oxidative stress response, DNA repair, cell division, cell signalling and protein synthesis. The downregulated genes were linked with processes such as protein modification, synthesis of aromatic amino acids, when compared with untreated N. fowleri. Further transcriptome studies will lead to understanding of genetic mechanisms of the biology and pathogenesis and/or the identification of much needed drug candidates.
    Matched MeSH terms: Central Nervous System Protozoal Infections/parasitology*
  5. Anwar A, Soomaroo A, Anwar A, Siddiqui R, Khan NA
    Exp Parasitol, 2020 Aug;215:107915.
    PMID: 32461112 DOI: 10.1016/j.exppara.2020.107915
    Acanthamoeba castellanii is an opportunistic protozoan responsible for serious human infections including Acanthamoeba keratitis and granulomatous amoebic encephalitis. Despite advances in antimicrobial therapy and supportive care, infections due to Acanthamoeba are a major public concern. Current methods of treatment are not fully effective against both the trophozoite and cyst forms of A. castellanii and are often associated with severe adverse effects, host cell cytotoxicity and recurrence of infection. Therefore, there is an urgent need to develop new therapeutic approaches for the treatment and management of Acanthamoebic infections. Repurposing of clinically approved drugs is a viable avenue for exploration and is particularly useful for neglected and rare diseases where there is limited interest by pharmaceutical companies. Nanotechnology-based drug delivery systems offer promising approaches in the biomedical field, particularly in diagnosis and drug delivery. Herein, we conjugated an antihyperglycemic drug, metformin with silver nanoparticles and assessed its anti-acanthamoebic properties. Characterization by ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometry and atomic force microscopy showed successful formation of metformin-coated silver nanoparticles. Amoebicidal and amoebistatic assays revealed that metformin-coated silver nanoparticles reduced the viability and inhibited the growth of A. castellanii significantly more than metformin and silver nanoparticles alone at both 5 and 10 μM after 24 h incubation. Metformin-coated silver nanoparticles also blocked encystation and inhibited the excystation in Acanthamoeba after 72 h incubation. Overall, the conjugation of metformin with silver nanoparticles was found to enhance its antiamoebic effects against A. castellanii. Furthermore, the pretreatment of A. castellanii with metformin and metformin-coated silver nanoparticles for 2 h also reduced the amoebae-mediated host cell cytotoxicity after 24 h incubation from 73% to 10% at 10 μM, indicating that the drug-conjugated silver nanoparticles confer protection to human cells. These findings suggest that metformin-coated silver nanoparticles hold promise in the improved treatment and management of Acanthamoeba infections.
    Matched MeSH terms: Central Nervous System Protozoal Infections/drug therapy; Central Nervous System Protozoal Infections/parasitology
  6. Rajendran K, Anwar A, Khan NA, Aslam Z, Raza Shah M, Siddiqui R
    ACS Chem Neurosci, 2020 08 19;11(16):2431-2437.
    PMID: 31347828 DOI: 10.1021/acschemneuro.9b00289
    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.
    Matched MeSH terms: Central Nervous System Protozoal Infections
  7. Mungroo MR, Shahbaz MS, Anwar A, Saad SM, Khan KM, Khan NA, et al.
    ACS Chem Neurosci, 2020 08 19;11(16):2438-2449.
    PMID: 31961126 DOI: 10.1021/acschemneuro.9b00596
    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.
    Matched MeSH terms: Central Nervous System Protozoal Infections
  8. Rajendran K, Anwar A, Khan NA, Shah MR, Siddiqui R
    ACS Chem Neurosci, 2019 06 19;10(6):2692-2696.
    PMID: 30970208 DOI: 10.1021/acschemneuro.9b00111
    Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM), a deadly brain infection, is caused by brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri. The current first line of treatment against PAM is a mixture of amphotericin B, rifampin, and miltefosine. Since, no single effective drug has been developed so far, the mortality rate is above 95%. Moreover, severe adverse side effects are associated with these drugs. Nanotechnology has provided several advances in biomedical applications especially in drug delivery and diagnosis. Herein, for the first time we report antiamoebic properties of cinnamic acid (CA) and gold nanoparticles conjugated with CA (CA-AuNPs) against N. fowleri. CA-AuNPs were successfully synthesized by sodium borohydride reduction of tetrachloroauric acid. Size and morphology were determined by atomic force microscopy (AFM) while the surface plasmon resonance band was analyzed by ultraviolet-visible (UV-vis) spectrophotometry for the characterization of the nanoparticles. Amoebicidal and cytopathogenicity (host cell cytotoxicity) assays revealed that both CA and CA-AuNPs displayed significant anti- N. fowleri properties ( P < 0.05), whereas nanoparticles conjugation further enhanced the anti- N. fowleri effects of CA. This study established a potential drug lead, while CA-AuNPs appear to be promising candidate for drug discovery against PAM.
    Matched MeSH terms: Central Nervous System Protozoal Infections
  9. Mat Amin N
    Trop Biomed, 2004 Dec;21(2):57-60.
    PMID: 16493399
    Naegleria fowleri is a free-living amoeba, known as a causative agent for a fatal disease of the central nervous system (CNS) in man such as Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM). Factors contributing to its pathogenicity and its distribution in the environment have been investigated by previous researchers. In case of its pathogenicity, several enzymes such as phospolipase A and sphingomyelinase, have been proposed to probably act as aggressors in promoting PAM but no study so far have been conducted to investigate the presence of proteinase enzyme in this amoeba although a 56kDa cystein proteinase enzyme has been identified in Entamoeba histolytica as an important contributing factor in the amoeba's virulence. In this preliminary study, a pathogenic amoeba, Naegleria fowleri (strain NF3) was examined for the presence of proteinases. Samples of enzymes in this amoeba were analysed by electrophoresis using SDS-PAGE-gelatin gels. The results showed that this amoeba possesses at least two high molecular weight proteinases on gelatin gels; their apparent molecular weights are approximately 128 kDa and approximately 170 kDa. Band of approximately 128 kDa enzyme is membrane-associated and its activity is higher at alkaline pH compared with lower pH; at lower pH, its activity is greatly stimulated by DTT. The approximately 170 kDa band enzyme appears to be inactivated at pH 8.0, at lower ph its activity is higher and DTT-dependance. The activity of this enzyme is partially inhibited by inhibitor E-64 but markedly inhibited to antipain suggesting it belongs to the cysteine proteinase group.
    Matched MeSH terms: Central Nervous System Protozoal Infections
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