Peganum harmala Extract Has Antiamoebic Activity to Acanthamoeba triangularis Trophozoites and Changes Expression of Autophagy-Related Genes


Peganum harmala, a well-known medicinal plant, has been used for several therapeutic purposes as it contains numerous pharmacological active compounds. Our study reported an anti-parasitic activity of P. harmala seed extract against Acanthamoeba triangularis. The stress induced by the extract on the surviving trophozoites for Acanthamoeba encystation and vacuolization was examined by microscopy, and transcriptional expression of Acanthamoeba autophagy-related genes was investigated by quantitative PCR. Our results showed that the surviving trophozoites were not transformed into cysts, and the number of trophozoites with enlarged vacuoles were not significantly different from that of untreated control. Molecular analysis data demonstrated that the mRNA expression of tested AcATG genes, i.e., ATG3, ATG8b, and ATG16, was at a basal level along the treatment. However, upregulation of AcATG16 at 24 h post treatment was observed, which may indicate an autophagic activity of this protein in response to the stress. Altogether, these data revealed the anti-Acanthamoeba activity of P. harmala extract and indicated the association of autophagy mRNA expression and cyst formation under the extract stress, representing a promising plant for future drug development. However, further identification of an active compound and a study of autophagy at the protein level are needed.



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Boonhok, R; Sangkanu, S; Chuprom, J; Srisuphanunt, M; Norouzi, R; Siyadatpanah, A; Mirzaei, F; Mitsuwan, W; Wisessombat, S; Pereira, MD; Rahmatullah, M; Wilairatana, P; Wiart, C; Ling, LC; Dolma, KG; Nissapatorn, V

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This research was funded by the Royal Patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn-Botanical Garden of Walailak University, Nakhon Si Thammarat under the project entitled: Medicinal under-exploited Thai native plant against Acanthamoeba spp., Leishmania donovani, and Plasmodium falciparum-Toward South East Asia collaboration initiative (WUBG020-2564), Thailand, Walailak University grant no. WU-IRG-63-073, and the project CICECO-Aveiro Institute of Materials, UIDB/50011/2020 and UIDP/50011/2020, national funds by FCT/MCTES.

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