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Maca against Echinococcosis?—A Reverse Approach from Patient to In Vitro Testing

Abstract : Drug-based treatment of alveolar echinococcosis (AE) with benzimidazoles is in most cases non-curative, thus has to be taken lifelong. Here, we report on a 56-year-old male AE patient who received standard benzimidazole treatment and biliary plastic stents, and additionally self-medicated himself with the Peruvian plant extract Maca (Lepidium meyenii). After 42 months, viable parasite tissue had disappeared. Based on this striking observation, the anti-echinococcal activity of Maca was investigated in vitro and in mice experimentally infected with Echinococcus multilocularis metacestodes. Albendazole (ABZ)-treated mice and mice treated with an ABZ+Maca combination exhibited a significantly reduced parasite burden compared to untreated or Maca-treated mice. As shown by a newly established UHPLC-MS/MS-based measurement of ABZ-metabolites, the presence of Maca during the treatment did not alter ABZ plasma levels. In vitro assays corroborated these findings, as exposure to Maca had no notable effect on E. multilocularis metacestodes, and in cultures of germinal layer cells, possibly unspecific, cytotoxic effects of Maca were observed. However, in the combined treatments, Maca inhibited the activity of ABZ in vitro. While Maca had no direct anti-parasitic activity, it induced in vitro proliferation of murine spleen cells, suggesting that immunomodulatory properties could have contributed to the curative effect seen in the patient.
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Contributor : Laurence Millon Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, January 20, 2022 - 10:54:02 AM
Last modification on : Friday, March 11, 2022 - 6:28:04 PM

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Tanja Karpstein, Sheena Chaudhry, Solange Bresson-Hadni, Michael Hayoz, Ghalia Boubaker, et al.. Maca against Echinococcosis?—A Reverse Approach from Patient to In Vitro Testing. Pathogens, MDPI, 2021, 10 (10), pp.1335. ⟨10.3390/pathogens10101335⟩. ⟨hal-03536969⟩



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