Efficacy of Nitazoxanide Alone or Loaded with Silica Nanoparticle for Treatment of Cryptosporidiosis in Immunocompetent Hosts

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Parasitology, Damietta Faculty of Medicine, Al-Azhar University, Egypt

2 Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Al-Azhar University, Egypt

3 Department of Immunology and Evaluation of Drugs, Theodor Bilharz Research Institute, Egypt

4 Department of Pathology, Theodor Bilharz Research Institute, Egypt


Background: Cryptosporidiosis is a major health problem for humans and animals with severe consequences in immune deficient hosts. There is no effective approved drug therapy against Cryptosporidium till now and it is increasingly necessary for evaluating new potential drugs. Nanoparticles are promising for effective treatment of parasitic diseases, as an emerging drug carriers.
The aim of the work: Studying nitazoxanide efficacy alone and compared to nitazoxanide loaded with silica nanoparticles in the treatment of cryptosporidiosis in immunocompetent mice infected with Cryptosporidium.
Materials and methods: The study included 50 Swiss albino mice subdivided into five subgroups, including treatment either with silica nanoparticles alone, with Nitazoxanide alone or by Nitazoxanide loaded with silica nanoparticles. We included infected non-treated and non- infected non treated mice in the study as the positive and the negative controls, respectively. The post-treatment evaluation at two and three weeks was done using parasitological stool examination, histological examination of the intestine and liver, and serological screening for anti-cryptosporidium IgG and IgM using ELISA at the 3rd week only.
Results: Decreased percentages of cryptosporidium oocyst passage in all treated immunocompetent mice groups and an improvement on the intestinal and liver histopathology observed after two weeks and a significant oocyst count reduction and near total histopathological cure observed after the third week with superior results observed in groups treated with Nitazoxanide loaded silica.
Conclusion: Cryptosporidium infection is a potentially harmful condition. Major histopathological changes and clinical deterioration occur in immunocompromized hosts requiring more available therapeutic options. The nitazoxanide loaded silica showed promising results in the treated groups superior to nitazoxanide alone. This gives promising results encouraging further evaluation studies.


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