Nanoparticles in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases: bioactivity of Bruguiera cylindrica-synthesized nanoparticles against dengue virus DEN-2 (in vitro) and its mosquito vector Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae)


Mosquitoes are blood-feeding insects serving as the most important vectors for spreading human pathogens and parasites. Dengue is a viral disease mainly vectored through the bite of Aedes mosquitoes. Its transmission has recently increased in urban and semi-urban areas of tropical and subtropical regions worldwide, becoming a major international public health concern. There is no specific treatment for dengue. Its prevention and control solely depend on effective vector control measures. Mangrove plants have been used in Indian traditional medicine for a wide array of purposes. In this research, we proposed a method for biosynthesis of antiviral and mosquitocidal silver nanoparticles (AgNP) using the aqueous extract of Bruguiera cylindrica leaves. AgNP were characterized using a variety of biophysical analyses, including UV-visible spectrophotometry, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy. Bruguiera cilyndrica aqueous extract and green-synthesized AgNP were tested against the primary dengue vector Aedes aegypti. AgNP were the most effective. LC50 values ranged from 8.93 ppm (larva I) to 30.69 ppm (pupa). In vitro experiments showed that 30 μg/ml of AgNP significantly inhibited the production of dengue viral envelope (E) protein in vero cells and downregulated the expression of dengue viral E gene. Concerning nontarget effects, we observed that the predation efficiency of Carassius auratus against A. aegypti was not affected by exposure at sublethal doses of AgNP. Predation in the control was 71.81 % (larva II) and 50.43 % (larva III), while in an AgNP-treated environment, predation was boosted to 90.25 and 76.81 %, respectively. Overall, this study highlights the concrete potential of green-synthesized AgNP in the fight against dengue virus. Furthermore, B. cylindrica-synthesized AgNP can be employed at low doses to reduce larval and pupal population of A. aegypti, without detrimental effects of predation rates of mosquito predators, such as C. auratus.

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The authors are grateful to the Department of Science and Technology (New Delhi, India), Project No. DST/SB/EMEQ-335/2013, for providing financial support. The funder had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest. Heinz Mehlhorn and Giovanni Benelli are Editor in Chief and Editorial Board Member of Parasitology Research, respectively. This does not alter the authors’ adherence to all the Parasitology Research policies on sharing data and materials.

Compliance with ethical standards

All applicable international and national guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. All procedures performed in studies involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institution or practice at which the studies were conducted.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Correspondence to Giovanni Benelli.

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Murugan, K., Dinesh, D., Paulpandi, M. et al. Nanoparticles in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases: bioactivity of Bruguiera cylindrica-synthesized nanoparticles against dengue virus DEN-2 (in vitro) and its mosquito vector Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae). Parasitol Res 114, 4349–4361 (2015) doi:10.1007/s00436-015-4676-8

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  • Antiviral activity
  • Biotoxicity
  • Nanobiotechnology
  • Nontarget effect
  • severe dengue
  • EDX
  • FTIR
  • SEM
  • XRD