Toxoplasma gondii causes toxoplasmosis, a common infection against which better drugs are needed. Recently, we showed that inorganic nanoparticles have anti-Toxoplasma activity. Here, we sought to enhance the anti-parasitic efficacy and host biocompatibility of these nanoparticles by modifying their surface with amino acids. The amino acids used were selected based on the nutritional requirements of Toxoplasma gondii. Amino acid-capped nanoparticles (amino-NPs) were synthesized, purified, and then screened for anti-Toxoplasma activity in in vitro infection models. The amino-NPs showed enhanced anti-parasitic selectivity as well as improved host biocompatibility. Oxidative stress, modulation of host HIF-1α, and activation of the kynurenine pathway contributed to the anti-parasitic action of the amino-NPs. Our findings provide additional support for the potential use of nanoparticles as innovative anti-parasitic agents. Findings glean additional perspective that highlight prospects of nanoparticles not only as innovative source of anti-parasitic agents but also provide evidence for probable biological mechanism.
- Drug targeting