Combination of tert-butyl hydroperoxide with vorinostat induces cell death of Acanthamoeba through cell cycle arrest

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Safety precautions prior to contact lens usage is essential for preventing Acanthamoeba keratitis. Contact lens disinfecting solutions containing 3% hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) are known to exert amoebicidal effect against Acanthamoeba. Yet, these solutions need to be neutralized to prevent ocular irritation, which consequently may result in incomplete disinfection. In this study, amoebicidal effect of tert-butyl hydroperoxide (tBHP) was investigated and its efficacy was compared to those of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). H2O2 and tBHP showed dose dependent amoebicidal effect, however high concentration of these compounds demonstrated cytotoxicity in human corneal epithelial (HCE) cells. To reduce their cytotoxicity, the concentrations of both compounds were diluted to 50 μM and subsequently combined with 10 μM vorinostat to enhance amoebicidal effect. Addition of vorinostat induced high amoebicidal effect against Acanthamoeba trophozoites, even at low concentrations of H2O2 or tBHP. Cellular damage induced by combined treatment of H2O2 or tBHP with vorinostat in Acanthamoeba were determined by assessing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis via FACS analysis. While 50 μM H2O2 combined with 10 μM vorinostat showed 36.26% cytotoxicity on HCE cells during 24 h exposure, 50 μM tBHP with 10 μM vorinostat did not show cytotoxicity on HCE cells. These findings suggest that the application of tBHP and vorinostat for Acanthamoeba keratitis treatment and contact lens disinfection system is highly plausible.

Original languageEnglish
Article number107833
JournalExperimental Parasitology
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Acanthamoeba
  • Vorinostat
  • tBHP


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