Here, we assessed the sulfated derivative of the microbial polysaccharide gellan gum and derivatives of λ and K-carrageenans for their ability to inhibit Plasmodium falciparum 3D7 and Dd2 growth and invasion of red blood cells in vitro. Growth inhibition was assessed by means of flow cytometry after a 96-h exposure to the inhibitors and invasion inhibition was assessed by counting ring parasites after a 20-h exposure to them. Gellan sulfate strongly inhibited invasion and modestly inhibited growth for both P. falciparum 3D7 and Dd2; both inhibitory effects exceeded those achieved with native gellan gum. The hydrolyzed λ-carrageenan and oversulfated k-carrageenan were less inhibitory than their native forms. In vitro cytotoxicity and anticoagulation assays performed to determine the suitability of the modified polysaccharides for in vivo studies showed that our synthesized gellan sulfate had low cytotoxicity and anticoagulant activity.
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