Parasitology Research

, Volume 118, Issue 9, pp 2455–2466 | Cite as

Therapeutic efficacy of nanocompounds in the treatment of cystic and alveolar echinococcoses: challenges and future prospects

  • Nayer Mehdizad Bakhtiar
  • Abolfazl Akbarzadeh
  • Adriano Casulli
  • Mahmoud Mahami-Oskouei
  • Ehsan Ahmadpour
  • Sanam Nami
  • Ali Rostami
  • Adel SpotinEmail author
Treatment and Prophylaxis - Review


Echinococcus granulosus sensu lato and E. multilocularis are the causative agents of life-threatening cystic and alveolar echinococcoses (CE and AE), respectively, which lead to serious public health concerns across the globe. Benzimidazoles (BMZs) are the drugs of choice for the treatment of human CE and AE. Presently, the chemotherapeutic failures of BMZs against CE and AE are caused by their low aqueous solubility, poor absorption, and consequently their erratic bioavailability. Among the BMZ compounds used for CE/AE treatment, albendazole (ABZ) and mebendazole (MBZ) are the only drugs licensed for human use. Nevertheless, the administration of these BMZs for a long period of time leads to undesirable adverse effects. Therefore, there is an urgent need for designing new formulations of BMZs with increased bioavailability. To bridge these therapeutic gaps, nanoparticle enantiomers of ABZ and drug delivery systems based on nanostructured entities currently provide an interesting new formulation of already existing drugs to improve the pharmacokinetic effects of BMZs. This study provides an overview of the tested nanocompounds against E. granulosus and E. multilocularis, including their effective dose, type of nanoparticles (NPs), assay setting, and therapeutic outcomes. This review suggests that BMZ derivatives loaded in NPs can significantly improve the scolicidal and cysticidal activities compared with single BMZ. Moreover, BMZ-loaded polymeric NPs show a tendency to increase mortality rate against protoscoleces and microcysts compared with metallic formulations, nanoemulsions, lipid nanocapsules, solid lipid NPs, liposomes, and nanocrystals. In the future, the use of the newly structured entities, attained by bridging ligands to the modified surface of NPs, as well as the electromagnetically produced nanodrugs could be helpful for developing fine-tuned formulations as an alternative to the already existing drugs against these neglected parasitic infections.


Nanocompounds Scolicidal agents Cystic echinococcosis Alveolar echinococcosis Benzimidazoles 















Metallic NPs




Selenium NPs


Silver NPs


Zinc oxide NPs


Solid lipid NPs


Albendazole sulfoxide


Liposomized albendazole


Methoxy polyethylene glycol-polycaprolactone


Polylactic-co-glycolic acid








Funding information

This is a report of a database from the thesis entitled “Therapeutic efficacy of nanocompounds in the treatment of cystic and alveolar echinococcoses: An updated review and future prospects” registered at the Immunology Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran (Grant Thesis No. 59631). This work was also partially supported by ERANet-LAC 2nd Joint Call ( and the Italian Ministry of Health - NDTND project.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nayer Mehdizad Bakhtiar
    • 1
    • 2
  • Abolfazl Akbarzadeh
    • 3
  • Adriano Casulli
    • 4
    • 5
  • Mahmoud Mahami-Oskouei
    • 2
  • Ehsan Ahmadpour
    • 2
  • Sanam Nami
    • 2
  • Ali Rostami
    • 6
  • Adel Spotin
    • 1
    • 7
    Email author
  1. 1.Immunology Research CenterTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran
  2. 2.Department of Parasitology and Mycology, Faculty of MedicineTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran
  3. 3.Drug Applied Research CenterTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran
  4. 4.WHO Collaborating Centre for the Epidemiology, Detection and Control of Cystic and Alveolar Echinococcosis, Department of Infectious DiseasesIstituto Superiore di SanitàRomeItaly
  5. 5.European Union Reference Laboratory for Parasites (EURLP), Department of Infectious DiseasesIstituto Superiore di SanitàRomeItaly
  6. 6.Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Research Center, Health Research InstituteBabol University of Medical SciencesBabolIran
  7. 7.Student Research CommitteeTabriz University of Medical SciencesTabrizIran

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