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Mefloquine loaded niosomes as a promising approach for the treatment of acute and chronic toxoplasmosis

El Sharazly, Basma M.; Aboul Asaad, Ibrahim A.; Yassen, Nabila A.; El Maghraby, Gamal M.; Carter, Wayne G.; Mohamed, Dareen A.; Amer, Basma S.; Ismail, Howaida I.H.


Basma M. El Sharazly

Ibrahim A. Aboul Asaad

Nabila A. Yassen

Gamal M. El Maghraby

Dareen A. Mohamed

Basma S. Amer

Howaida I.H. Ismail


Toxoplasmosis is a disease with a worldwide distribution and significant morbidity and mortality. In search of effective treatment, mefloquine (MQ) was repurposed and loaded with niosomes to treat acute and chronic phases of toxoplasmosis in experimental mice. Mice were orally inoculated with 20 cysts of Toxoplasma gondii (ME 49 strain) for the acute model of infection and 10 cysts for the chronic model of infection. Infected mice were dosed with MQ solution or MQ-niosomes at 50 mg/kg/day, starting from the second day post-infection (PI) (acute model) or the fifth week PI (chronic model), and this was continued for six consecutive days. The effects of MQ solution and MQ-niosomes were compared with a pyrimethamine/sulfadiazine (PYR/SDZ) dosing combination as mortality rates, brain cyst number, inflammatory score, and immunohistochemical studies that included an estimation of apoptotic cells (TUNEL assays). In the acute infection model, MQ solution and MQ-niosomes significantly reduced the mortality rate from 45% to 25 and 10%, respectively, compared with infected untreated controls, and decreased the number of brain cysts by 51.5% and 66.9%, respectively. In the chronic infection model, cyst reduction reached 80.9% and 12.3% for MQ solution and MQ-niosomes treatments, respectively. MQ-niosomes significantly decreased inflammation induced by acute or chronic T. gondii infection. Additionally, immunohistochemical analysis revealed that MQ solution and MQ-niosomes significantly increased the number of TUNEL-positive cells in brain tissue, indicative of induction of apoptosis. Collectively, these results indicate that MQ-niosomes may provide a useful delivery strategy to treat both acute and chronic toxoplasmosis.


El Sharazly, B. M., Aboul Asaad, I. A., Yassen, N. A., El Maghraby, G. M., Carter, W. G., Mohamed, D. A., …Ismail, H. I. (2023). Mefloquine loaded niosomes as a promising approach for the treatment of acute and chronic toxoplasmosis. Acta Tropica, 239, Article 106810.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 25, 2022
Online Publication Date Dec 26, 2022
Publication Date 2023-03
Deposit Date Jan 5, 2023
Publicly Available Date Dec 27, 2023
Journal Acta Tropica
Print ISSN 0001-706X
Electronic ISSN 1873-6254
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 239
Article Number 106810
Keywords Infectious Diseases; Parasitology; Insect Science; Veterinary (miscellaneous)
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