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Stephnie M. Kennedy, Pallavi Deshpande, Andrew G. Gallagher, Malcolm J. Horsburgh, Heather E. Allison, Stephen B. Kaye, Donald A. Wellings, Rachel L. Williams; Amoebicidal Activity of Poly-Epsilon-Lysine Functionalized Hydrogels. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2022;63(1):11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.63.1.11.
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To determine the amoebicidal activity of functionalized poly-epsilon-lysine hydrogels (pɛK+) against Acanthamoeba castellanii.
A. castellanii trophozoites and cysts were grown in the presence of pɛK solution (0–2.17 mM), pɛK or pɛK+ hydrogels, or commercial hydrogel contact lens (CL) for 24 hours or 7 days in PBS or Peptone-Yeast-Glucose (PYG) media (nutrient-deplete or nutrient-replete cultures, respectively). Toxicity was determined using propidium iodide and imaged using fluorescence microscopy. Ex vivo porcine corneas were inoculated with A. castellanii trophozoites ± pɛK, pɛK+ hydrogels or commercial hydrogel CL for 7 days. Corneal infection was assessed by periodic acid–Schiff staining and histologic analysis. Regrowth of A. castellanii from hydrogel lenses and corneal discs at 7 days was assessed using microscopy and enumeration.
The toxicity of pɛK+ hydrogels resulted in the death of 98.52% or 83.31% of the trophozoites at 24 hours or 7 days, respectively. The toxicity of pɛK+ hydrogels resulted in the death of 70.59% or 82.32% of the cysts in PBS at 24 hours or 7 days, respectively. Cysts exposed to pɛK+ hydrogels in PYG medium resulted in 75.37% and 87.14% death at 24 hours and 7 days. Ex vivo corneas infected with trophozoites and incubated with pɛK+ hydrogels showed the absence of A. castellanii in the stroma, with no regrowth from corneas or pɛK+ hydrogel, compared with infected-only corneas and those incubated in presence of commercial hydrogel CL.
pɛK+ hydrogels demonstrated pronounced amoebicidal and cysticidal activity against A. castellanii. pɛK+ hydrogels have the potential for use as CLs that could minimize the risk of CL-associated Acanthamoeba keratitis.
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