Anti-Balamuthia mandrillaris and anti-Naegleria fowleri effects of drugs conjugated with various nanostructures

Ruqaiyyah Siddiqui, Anania Boghossian, Saif S. Alqassim, Muhammad Kawish, Jasra Gul, Tooba Jabri, Muhammad Raza Shah, Naveed Ahmed Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Balamuthia mandrillaris and Naegleria fowleri are protist pathogens that can cause fatal infections. Despite mortality rate of > 90%, there is no effective therapy. Treatment remains problematic involving repurposed drugs, e.g., azoles, amphotericin B and miltefosine but requires early diagnosis. In addition to drug discovery, modifying existing drugs using nanotechnology offers promise in the development of therapeutic interventions against these parasitic infections. Herein, various drugs conjugated with nanoparticles were developed and evaluated for their antiprotozoal activities. Characterizations of the drugs' formulations were accomplished utilizing Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, efficiency of drug entrapment, polydispersity index, zeta potential, size, and surface morphology. The nanoconjugates were tested against human cells to determine their toxicity in vitro. The majority of drug nanoconjugates exhibited amoebicidal effects against B. mandrillaris and N. fowleri. Amphotericin B-, Sulfamethoxazole-, Metronidazole-based nanoconjugates are of interest since they exhibited significant amoebicidal effects against both parasites (p < 0.05). Furthermore, Sulfamethoxazole and Naproxen significantly diminished host cell death caused by B. mandrillaris by up to 70% (p < 0.05), while Amphotericin B-, Sulfamethoxazole-, Metronidazole-based drug nanoconjugates showed the highest reduction in host cell death caused by N. fowleri by up to 80%. When tested alone, all of the drug nanoconjugates tested in this study showed limited toxic effects against human cells in vitro (less than 20%). Although these are promising findings, prospective work is warranted to comprehend the mechanistic details of nanoconjugates versus amoebae as well as their in vivo testing, to develop antimicrobials against the devastating infections caused by these parasites.

Original languageEnglish
Article number170
JournalArchives of Microbiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2023


  • Humans
  • Balamuthia mandrillaris
  • Amphotericin B/pharmacology
  • Metronidazole/pharmacology
  • Nanoconjugates/chemistry
  • Prospective Studies
  • Amebicides/chemistry
  • Naegleria fowleri
  • Sulfamethoxazole/pharmacology
  • Amebiasis/drug therapy


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