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Int J Antimicrob Agents. 2007 Sep;30(3):229-35. Epub 2007 Jul 12.

Inactivation of the miltefosine transporter, LdMT, causes miltefosine resistance that is conferred to the amastigote stage of Leishmania donovani and persists in vivo.

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  • 1Department of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Keppel Street, London WC1E 7HT, UK. karin.seifert@lshtm.ac.uk


Miltefosine (hexadecylphosphocholine) is the first oral antileishmanial drug. In this study, we addressed the question whether miltefosine-resistant Leishmania donovani promastigotes transform to miltefosine-resistant amastigotes. A promastigote line, M-mutR, showed defective internalisation of miltefosine owing to mutations in LdMT, similar to previously described resistant lines. M-mutR parasites were infective to macrophages in vitro as well as in BALB/c mice in vivo. There was good correlation of in vitro resistance indices between promastigotes and intracellular amastigotes. Most importantly, M-mutR parasites retained the resistant phenotype in vivo, with no decrease of hepatic burden in BALB/c mice following miltefosine treatment up to 30 mg/kg (ca. 90% inhibition in wild-type infections). No cross-resistance to other antileishmanial drugs was observed in M-mutR amastigotes.

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