Garlic-Based Zinc Oxide Cure for Parasitic Infection

Jenn Hoskins
3rd April, 2024

Garlic-Based Zinc Oxide Cure for Parasitic Infection

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In Egypt, garlic-derived nanoparticles reduced Cryptosporidium in mice by up to 83%
  • Treated mice showed less damage in intestines, liver, and lungs
  • The nanoparticles increased antioxidants and decreased inflammation markers in mice
Cryptosporidiosis, a disease caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium, is a significant health concern, especially for those with weakened immune systems. Traditional treatments exist, but researchers are continually searching for more effective and environmentally friendly alternatives. A promising development in this quest comes from scientists at Beni-Suef University, who have harnessed the power of Allium sativum—commonly known as garlic—and cutting-edge nanotechnology to create a new treatment for this disease[1]. The study conducted at Beni-Suef University focused on green synthesized zinc oxide nanoparticles (ZnO-NPs) using an extract from A. sativum. The term "green synthesis" refers to a method of creating nanoparticles that is environmentally friendly, avoiding the use of harmful chemicals typically associated with nanoparticle production. These ZnO-NPs are minuscule particles with unique properties that have shown promise in various applications, including antimicrobial treatments. The researchers used sophisticated tools like Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), scanning electron microscopy, and zeta analyzers to characterize the ZnO-NPs. The resulting nanoparticles had a sponge-like structure with many pores, which is beneficial for biological activities due to the increased surface area that can interact with the parasite. In the experiment, twenty-five mice with suppressed immune systems were infected with Cryptosporidium parvum. These mice were then divided into five groups and given different treatments. Two of the groups received 50 and 100 mg/kg of the A. sativum/ZnO-NPs composite. The results were remarkable: there was a significant reduction in the number of oocysts—Cryptosporidium's egg-like forms—shed by the treated mice. This reduction was 79.9% and 83.23% for the two doses, respectively. Furthermore, the treated mice showed considerable improvement in intestinal, liver, and lung tissue damage typically caused by the parasite. The ZnO-NPs enhanced the mice's antioxidant defenses, as indicated by increased glutathione (GSH) levels, and reduced the levels of nitric oxide (NO) and malondialdehyde (MDA), which are markers of oxidative stress and inflammation. This study's findings are significant because they not only demonstrate the potential of using green synthesized ZnO-NPs as a treatment for cryptosporidiosis but also show an improvement over using A. sativum extract alone. This aligns with previous research that has explored the use of medicinal plant extracts as alternative treatments for parasitic infections[2]. The Citrus sinensis peel extract, for example, was shown to be effective against Cryptosporidium in mice, suggesting that plant-derived substances could play a valuable role in the development of new antiparasitic drugs. Moreover, the work dovetails with other research on the antibacterial properties of ZnO-NPs. A study[3] utilizing ZnO-NPs synthesized with the help of a fungal extract demonstrated their effectiveness against bacterial infections in both laboratory and animal models, reinforcing the idea that ZnO-NPs can be powerful antimicrobial agents. The research on A. sativum essential oil[4] further supports the therapeutic potential of plant-based substances, demonstrating significant prophylactic effects against another parasite, Toxoplasma gondii. This study emphasized the importance of exploring the full range of benefits offered by plant-derived treatments. Lastly, the emphasis on green synthesis methods[5] is crucial, as it provides a sustainable approach to producing these nanoparticles. The use of biological substrates for the synthesis of ZnO-NPs not only reduces environmental impact but also paves the way for the development of biocompatible and non-toxic materials suitable for clinical use. In conclusion, the study from Beni-Suef University has opened the door to a novel and eco-friendly antiparasitic treatment that combines the benefits of plant-derived substances with the efficacy of nanotechnology. It stands as a testament to the potential of combining traditional medicinal knowledge with modern scientific techniques to combat diseases like cryptosporidiosis. Further research will undoubtedly build on these promising results, offering hope for more effective treatments in the future.

MedicineBiotechPlant Science


Main Study

1) Green synthesis of zinc oxide/Allium sativum nano-composite and its efficacy against murine cryptosporidiosis.

Published 1st April, 2024

Related Studies

2) Anti-Cryptosporidium efficacy of Citrus sinensis peel extract: Histopathological and ultrastructural experimental study.

3) Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles as Potential Delivery Carrier: Green Synthesis by Aspergillus niger Endophytic Fungus, Characterization, and In Vitro/In Vivo Antibacterial Activity.

4) In vitro and in vivo Anti-Toxoplasma Effects of Allium sativum Essential Oil Against Toxoplasma gondii RH Strain.

5) Algal Extracts for Green Synthesis of Zinc Oxide Nanoparticles: Promising Approach for Algae Bioremediation.

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