Magnetic nanoparticles are highly toxic to chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum, dengue virus (DEN-2), and their mosquito vectors

Kadarkarai Murugan, Jiang Wei, Mohamad Saleh Alsalhi, Marcello Nicoletti, Manickam Paulpandi, Christina Mary Samidoss, Devakumar Dinesh, Balamurugan Chandramohan, Chellasamy Paneerselvam, Jayapal Subramaniam, Chithravel Vadivalagan, Hui Wei, Pandiyan Amuthavalli, Anitha Jaganathan, Sandhanasamy Devanesan, Akon Higuchi, Suresh Kumar, Al Thabiani Aziz, Devaraj Nataraj, Baskaralingam VaseeharanAngelo Canale, Giovanni Benelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


A main challenge in parasitology is the development of reliable tools to prevent or treat mosquito-borne diseases. We investigated the toxicity of magnetic nanoparticles (MNP) produced by Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense (strain MSR-1) on chloroquine-resistant (CQ-r) and sensitive (CQ-s) Plasmodium falciparum, dengue virus (DEN-2), and two of their main vectors, Anopheles stephensi and Aedes aegypti, respectively. MNP were studied by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and transmission electron microscopy. They were toxic to larvae and pupae of An. stephensi, LC50 ranged from 2.563 ppm (1st instar larva) to 6.430 ppm (pupa), and Ae. aegypti, LC50 ranged from 3.231 ppm (1st instar larva) to 7.545 ppm (pupa). MNP IC50 on P. falciparum were 83.32 μg ml−1 (CQ-s) and 87.47 μg ml−1 (CQ-r). However, the in vivo efficacy of MNP on Plasmodium berghei was low if compared to CQ-based treatments. Moderate cytotoxicity was detected on Vero cells post-treatment with MNP doses lower than 4 μg ml−1. MNP evaluated at 2–8 μg ml−1 inhibited DEN-2 replication inhibiting the expression of the envelope (E) protein. In conclusion, our findings represent the first report about the use of MNP in medical and veterinary entomology, proposing them as suitable materials to develop reliable tools to combat mosquito-borne diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-502
Number of pages8
JournalParasitology Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2017


  • Antiviral activity
  • Magnetospirillum gryphiswaldense
  • Magnetotactic bacteria
  • Malaria
  • Yellow fever
  • Zika virus


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