A review of the current research trends in the application of medicinal plants as a source for novel therapeutic agents against Acanthamoeba infections

Document Type: Review Paper

Authors

1 DEP PARASITOLOGY AND MYCOLOGY, SCHOOL OF MEDICINE, SHAHID BEHESHTI UNIVERSITY OF MEDICAL SCIENCES, TEHRAN , IRAN

2 Department of Medical Parasitology and Mycology, School of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 University Institute of Tropical Diseases and Public Health of the Canary Islands, University of La Laguna, Avda. Astrofísico Fco. Sánchez, S/N, 38203 La Laguna, Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain.

Abstract

Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK) is a sight-threating infection of the cornea that mostly affects contact lens wearers. Until now, AK treatment remains very difficult due to the existence of a highly resistant cyst stage in the life cycle of Acanthamoeba which is extremely resistant to most of the available anti-amoebic compounds. Moreover, current treatment of AK is usually based in the combination of various therapeutic agents such as polyhexamethylene biguanide or chlorhexidine and propamidine isethionate. However, all the mentioned compounds have also showed toxic side effects on human keratocytes and presented poor cysticidal effect at the concentrations currently used in the established AK treatments.
Nowadays, the elucidation of novel compounds with antimicrobial and anticancer properties from plant and herbs with medicinal properties have encouraged researchers to evaluate plants as a source of new molecules with anti-trophozoite and cysticidal effects.
Thus, in recent years, many natural products have been reported to present potent anti-Acanthamoeba properties with good selectivity and minimal toxic effects. Therefore, the chemical drugs currently used for AK treatment, their drawbacks as well as the current research in medicinal plants as a source of potent anti-Acanthamoeba compounds are described in this review.

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