Parasitology Research

, Volume 117, Issue 7, pp 2015–2023 | Cite as

In vitro and in vivo effects of chitosan-praziquantel and chitosan-albendazole nanoparticles on Echinococcus granulosus Metacestodes

  • Negin Torabi
  • Faramarz Dobakhti
  • Soghrat Faghihzadeh
  • Ali Haniloo
Original Paper


Cystic echinococcosis (CE), which is caused by the metacestode of Echinococcus granulosus, is one of the most important zoonoses affecting humans. Benzimidazoles (in particular albendazole) and praziquantel (PZQ) are effective against CE, but poor water solubility of these agents often leads to inadequate results. Here, we evaluate the effects of chitosan-albendazole (ChABZ) and chitosan-praziquantel (ChPZQ) nanoparticles as a new formulation on hydatid cysts both in vitro and in vivo. Developed microcysts in culture were treated with different concentrations of ChABZ and ChPZQ nanoparticles (either alone or in combination), and ABZ + PZQ suspension. The viability rate of microcysts was used to evaluate the drug efficacies. In addition, the prophylactic and therapeutic effects of the drugs were studied on infected DBA/2 mice. Transmission electron microscopy was used to observe the ultra-structural changes. The viability rate of microcysts and differences in cyst weights were compared by ANOVA, and the cyst numbers were compared using the Kruskal-Wallis test. The combination of ChABZ + ChPZQ nanoparticles was more effective than the ABZ + PZQ suspension in vitro (p < 0.05). In prophylaxy, a significant reduction was observed both in size and in number of the cysts in ChABZ + ChPZQ nanoparticle groups compared with the control group (p < 0.05). In the therapeutic stage, however, this treatment only reduced the cyst numbers. Degeneration of the microcysts treated with the drugs was evident in the ultra-structural imaging. Overall, the nanoparticulate drugs were more effective than their suspension counterparts, but further studies are recommended to evaluate the full potential of these nanoparticles in the treatment of human CE.


Albendazole Praziquantel Chitosan nanoparticles Hydatid cysts Treatment 



The authors wish to thank Dr. M.C. Elissondo (National Scientific and technical Research Council, Argentina) for helpful and constructive comments. We are also grateful to Dr. Vahid Pirhajati (Iran University of Medical Sciences, Iran) for the technical assistance with the transmission electronic microscopy. Last but not least, we would like to thank Dr. Mehrdad Pedram (Dept. of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, ZUMS) for his science editing and English skills helping us for preparing and proofreading the manuscript.

Funding information

This study was financially supported by Zanjan University of Medical Sciences (A-12-95-7).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Negin Torabi
    • 1
  • Faramarz Dobakhti
    • 2
  • Soghrat Faghihzadeh
    • 3
  • Ali Haniloo
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Parasitology and Mycology, School of MedicineZanjan University of Medical Sciences (ZUMS)ZanjanIran
  2. 2.School of Pharmacy, ZUMSZanjanIran
  3. 3.School of Medicine, ZUMSZanjanIran

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