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Background: Biomphalaria glabrata is an intermediate host for the larvae of Schistosoma mansoni, which is distributed widely in the tropics. B. glabrata control is important to minimize the spread of schistosomiasis and natural compounds have been sought for use against this disease. The Artemia salina bench-top bioassay has been used to investigate the ecotoxicity of many natural compounds, and its results also correlate well with the in vitro cytotoxicity of natural compounds to tumor cells.
Aims: To evaluate deleterious effects of the Opuntia ficus-indica lectin (OfiL) on B. glabrata, A. salina and human cancer cell lines.
Methods: OfiL was isolated following a previously established protocol. The effects of OfiL on B. glabrata were investigated by determining survival of adults as well as development and hatching of embryos. The concentration required to kill 50% (LC50) of A. salina nauplii was determined. The cytotoxicity was determined using the human cell lines Hep-2 (human larynx epidermoid carcinoma), NCI-H292 (human lung mucoepidermoid carcinoma) and K562 (chronic myelocytic leukemia).
Results: The development of most embryos (92.5–97.5%) treated with 1, 10 and 100 µg/mL of OfiL was found to be delayed, and dead (2.2–3.3%) and malformed (0.3–5.2%) embryos were also observed. OfiL did not kill B. glabrata adults, but a high percentage (30–45%) of the embryos generated by snails incubated with the lectin exhibited malformations. OfiL exhibited toxicity against A. salina (LC50: 61.02 µg/mL) but did not display cytotoxicity against the tumor cell lines evaluated.
Conclusion: In conclusion, this study showed that OfiL can be a tool for schistosomiasis control that acts by impairing the viability of B. glabrata eggs and the fecundity of adult snails.
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