Home Science Silver Nanoparticles Restrict Brain-Eating Amoeba
Silver Nanoparticles Restrict Brain-Eating Amoeba

Silver Nanoparticles Restrict Brain-Eating Amoeba

Researchers from Sunway University developed silver nanoparticles coated with anti-seizure drugs capable of eliminating brain-eating amoeba

Naegleria fowleri is a species of the genus Naegleria, which belongs to the phylum Percolozoa and is commonly known as brain-eating amoeba. The free-living, bacteria-eating amoeba is pathogenic and can cause a fulminant brain infection called naegleriasis (Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (PAM)). The brain-eating amoeba is found in warm freshwater bodies such as ponds, lakes, rivers, and hot springs or soil near warm-water discharges of industrial plants, and in unchlorinated or minimally-chlorinated swimming pools. The organism feeds on the human brain. Now, a team of researchers from Sunway University, Malaysia developed silver nanoparticles coated with anti-seizure drugs, which are capable of eliminating the brain-eating amoeba. Moreover, the novel drug does not harm human cells.

Although infections with brain-eating amoeba are rare, they are highly fatal. Majority of these infections arise from inhaling warm, dirty water in ponds, hot springs or unchlorinated swimming pools. Another species of amoeba, Acanthamoeba castellanii, is capable of causing blindness by entering the eyes through dirty contact lenses. Common treatments against these infections include antimicrobial drugs. However, use of these drugs often leads to severe side effects as the high doses of these drugs are required to enter the brain.

The team focused on three anti-seizure drugs -- diazepam, phenobarbitone, and phenytoin as a possible option to eliminate amoeba with or without the combination with silver nanoparticles. These drugs are U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved and can efficiently cross the blood-brain barrier. According to the researchers, these drugs could be more effective when attached to silver nanoparticles. These nanoparticles can improve the delivery of some drugs and also cast their own antimicrobial effects.

The team chemically combined these drugs with silver nanoparticles and tested their ability to eliminate amoeba. The results revealed that each of the three drugs alone was capable of eliminating N. fowleri and A. castellanii. However, the efficiency of these drugs increased when they were combined with silver nanoparticles. The drug-nanoparticle combination protected human cells from the amoeba and increased the survival rate of these cells compared with untreated infected human cells. The research was published in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience on October 15, 2018.



Anagha Kulkarni
Anagha Kulkarni,

Anagha Kulkarni
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