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Parasitol Res. 2016 Jan;115(1):379-90. doi: 10.1007/s00436-015-4759-6. Epub 2015 Oct 7.

Effect of Nigella sativa oil on experimental toxoplasmosis.

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Medical Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt.
Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Department, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt.
Pathology Department, Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt.


Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic infection caused by Toxoplasma gondii protozoon. It is most commonly treated by pyrimethamine (PYR); however, this was intolerable by many patients. The aim of this study was to assess therapeutic effects of Nigella sativa oil (NSO) alone and combined with pyrimethamine (PYR) compared to a previous combination of clindamycin (CLN) and (PYR). One hundred Albino mice were used in the current study and were equally divided into five groups: normal (I), infected untreated control (II); infected, treated with NSO-only (III); infected, treated with NSO + PYR (IV); and infected, treated with CLN + PYR (V). The virulent RH Toxoplasma strain was used in infection survival rates estimation, impression smears from liver and spleen, and histopathological and ultrastructural studies were done. Liver malondialdehyde (MDA) level and total antioxidant capacity (TAC) were determined. Interferon-γ and specific IgM were also measured in sera by ELISA. Results showed that NSO alone has no direct anti-Toxoplasma effect, whereas its combination with PYR produced potent effect that is comparable to CLN + PYR. It significantly increased the survival rate and decreased the parasite density and pathological insult in both liver and spleen. Also, significant increase in interferon-γ level denotes stimulation of cellular immunity. NSO + PYR combination markedly improved the antioxidant capacity of Toxoplasma infected mice compared to the infected untreated ones and to CLN/PYR. In conclusion, although NSO, if administered alone, has significant immunostimulant and antioxidant properties, it failed to decrease tachyzoite counts. Combination of NSO and PYR had synergistic effect in treatment of toxoplasmosis.


Antioxidant; Combination therapy; Interferon-gamma; Nigella sativa oil; Toxoplasma gondii

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