Parasitology Research

, Volume 118, Issue 7, pp 2053–2063 | Cite as

Inhibitory activity of chitosan nanoparticles against Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts

  • Shahira A. AhmedEmail author
  • Heba S. El-Mahallawy
  • Panagiotis Karanis
Protozoology - Original Paper


Cryptosporidium is a ubiquitous harsh protozoan parasite that resists many disinfectants. It remains viable and infective for a long time in water and food causing global outbreaks. Chitosan (the deacetylated chitin molecule) was used in its nanosuspension form to evaluate its effect against Cryptosporidium parvum. The experiments were performed in vitro in serial concentrations and confirmed in mice in vivo infectivity assay. Chitosan nanoparticles (Cs NPs) were toxic to Cryptosporidium oocysts. The effect appeared to decrease the number of Cryptosporidium oocysts and altered their content. The destruction rate of oocysts was dependent on the dose of chitosan and the time of exposure (P < 0.05). Higher doses of Cs NPs over a prolonged period exhibited a significantly higher destruction rate. Using staining and light microscopy, remarkable destructive changes were observed in the oocysts’ morphology. The minimal lethal dose for > 90% of oocysts was 3000 μg/ml, no mice infections in vivo were observed. The results in this study elucidate Cs NPs as an effective anti-cryptosporidial agent.


Cryptosporidium Chitosan In vitro Nanoparticles Bioassay Activity 


Compliance with ethical standards

The protocols for sample collection, the laboratory animal housing and inoculations were reviewed and approved by the Scientific Research Committee and Bioethics Board of Suez Canal University, Faculty of Medicine, Ismailia, Egypt.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shahira A. Ahmed
    • 1
    Email author
  • Heba S. El-Mahallawy
    • 2
  • Panagiotis Karanis
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Parasitology, Faculty of MedicineSuez Canal UniversityIsmailiaEgypt
  2. 2.Department of Animal Hygiene, Zoonoses and Animal Behaviour and Management, Faculty of Veterinary MedicineSuez Canal UniversityIsmailiaEgypt
  3. 3.University of CologneMedical Faculty and University HospitalCologneGermany

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