New Piroplasmosis Treatment Could Include Ellagic Acid

by | 06.19.2019 | 3:50pm

Ellagic acid in nanoparticles may be able to fight piroplasmosis in horses and other animals. Notoriously hard to treat, piroplasmosis is a protozoal infection that has no vaccination options–and treatment choices are limited.

Spread by ticks, improperly sanitized surgical equipment or the reuse of needles, some regions of the world require euthanasia of the infected horse. Signs of piroplasmosis include fever, weight loss, anemia and weakness. Horses diagnosed with piroplasmosis in the United States are required to either be placed in lifelong quarantine, euthanized, exported or enrolled in a research program that is overseen by the USDA.

Drs. Amani Magdy Beshbishy, Gaber El-Saber Batiha, Naoaki Yokoyama and Ikuo Igarashi were looking for an alternative to the antiprotozoal meds traditionally used to treat piroplasmosis. These medications have several risks to using them including drug resistance, withdrawal issues and toxicity.

The team, in conjunction with the National Research Center for Protozoan Diseases at Obihiro University of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine, studied ellagic acid, an antioxidant found in grapes, black currants, strawberries, green tea and other herbal plants. Ellagic acid has anti-inflammatory properties and has been used as a preventative and therapeutic aid against a range of cancers.

Though it had medicinal properties, ellagic acid is soluble in water and oxidized by heat; it is also affected by intestinal microorganisms and is rapidly eliminated from the body. To make the acid more bioavailable, the scientists loaded the ellagic acid into slow-release nanoparticles.

The researchers determined that ellagic acid used in conjunction with the nanoparticles is a promising route in the fight against the protozoa that cause piroplasmosis. Combination treatments also showed promise and could be an option in treating piroplasmosis in animals, they report.

Read more at HorseTalk.

Read the study here.

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