Objective: To study in vitro anti-hydatic and immunomodulatory effects of ginger and -gingerol as an alternative therapy for cystic echinococcosis.
Methods: Effect of a commonly used herbal product and ginger (Zingiber officinale) towards protoscoleces (PSC) and cyst wall in vitro was studied. The effect of -gingerol, and the pungent constituent of ginger, was also evaluated on PSC culture. Furthermore, the activity of both extracts in association with interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) on PSC co-cultured with mononuclear cells of hydatic patients was evaluated. The nitric oxide (NO) production was measured in each co-culture.
Results: Ginger exhibited a concentration- and time-dependent cytotoxic effect against PSC and cyst wall. Interestingly, ginger was more effective than the -gingerol. Moreover, additional parasitic effect between extracts and IFN-γ are also observed in co-cultures. Furthermore, both extracts attenuated the NO production elicited by this infection or by the IFN-γ.
Conclusions: Ginger has an important anti-hydatic effect in vitro. This effect is amplified in the presence of IFN-γ. Moreover, this herbal product may protect against host's cell death by reducing the high levels of NO. Ginger may act, at least, through the -gingerol. All our data suggest the promising use of ginger in the treatment of Echinococcus granulosus infection.
Keywords: Cytotoxic activity; Echinococcosis; Ginger; Nitric oxide; -Gingerol.
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