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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of nifedipine, metronidazole, and nitric oxide donors on spore germination and cell culture infection of the microsporidia Encephalitozoon hellem and Encephalitozoon intestinalis.

Two species of microsporidia, Encephalitozoon hellem and Encephalitozoon intestinalis, were isolated from AIDS patients and cultured in green monkey kidney cells. A spore germination assay and a cultured-cell infection assay were used to test the efficacy of candidate antiparasitic agents. The calcium channel blocker nifedipine, metronidazole, and two nitric oxide (NO) donors, S-nitroso-N-acetylpenicillamine and sodium nitroprusside, were tested in the two assays. Nifedipine (10(-8) M) significantly inhibited E. hellem spore germination in three of four germination media. Metronidazole (10(-5) M) inhibited germination weakly and significantly inhibited E. intestinalis germination in a single germination medium. The inhibitory effect of nifedipine and metronidazole used together was greater than the sum of the effects of the drugs used alone in all E. hellem germination assays. The NO donors also inhibited spore germination. The inhibitory effect of nifedipine and metronidazole could be reversed by washing the spores, while that of the NO donors was not reversible. In early cultured-cell infections, both nifedipine (10(-8) M) and metronidazole (10(-5) M) significantly reduced the number of cells being infected. As the infection spread, these agents were less effective. Some inhibition of the spread of the infection was also demonstrated with the NO donors at a concentration (10(-5) M) not obviously toxic to the cultured cells. These data suggest that combination drug therapy targeting spore germination and intracellular parasite development is promising.[1]


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