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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2002 Jan-Feb;96(1):91-5.

The Lys-76-Thr mutation in PfCRT and chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum isolates from Uganda.

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Department of Medical Parasitology, Med Biotech Laboratories, P.O. Box 9364, Kampala, Uganda.


Recent molecular studies of chloroquine (CQ) resistance of Plasmodium falciparum have demonstrated an association between a mutation in the PfCRT gene and CQ resistance. We identified wild type and mutant alleles of the PfCRT codon 76 in baseline pre-CQ treatment P. falciparum isolates collected during 1999 and investigated their relationship to CQ efficacy in 3 different sites with different levels of CQ parasite resistance in Uganda. Of 32 isolates from Mulago Hospital, all were mutant (100%), while of 45 isolates from Tororo, 5 (11%) were mixed wild type and mutant and 40 (89%) were mutants only. Of 41 isolates from Apac, 13 (32%) were mixed wild type and mutant whereas 28 (68%) were mutants only. The finding of 100% prevalence of the Thr-76 mutant allele in all isolates at the 3 sites was remarkable. We found no association between the presence of Thr-76 mutation and treatment outcome at all the sites. However, the prevalence of the wild-type Lys-76 allele was higher in Apac, an area with lower CQ parasite resistance, compared to Tororo and Mulago which have relatively higher CQ parasite resistance. The Thr-76 allele as a marker of CQ resistance is probably useful in regions where the allele frequency has not yet plateaued.

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