Comparison of novel and existing tools for studying drug sensitivity against the hookworm Ancylostoma ceylanicum in vitro

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The motility assay is the current gold standard for evaluating drug effects on hookworm larvae and adults, however, among other drawbacks the assay is time consuming, and prone to individual subjectivity. We evaluated six alternative in vitro assays, namely the feeding inhibition assay, the colourimetric AlamarBlue®, MTT formazan and acid phosphatase activity assays, as well as isothermal calorimetry and the xCELLigence System using Ancylostoma ceylanicum third-stage larvae, stimulated third-stage larvae and adults. The performances of the assays were compared to the motility assay using three standard drugs: albendazole, levamisole and ivermectin (100–1 μg/ml). None of the assays investigated offered an advantage over the motility assay, because they were all inapplicable to third-stage larvae, which were presumably metabolically and physically too inactive. Among all assays tested the xCELLigence System performed best on adult worms as the test was accurate, simple, required a minimal number of worms and offered the possibility for conducting a medium-throughput screening.

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