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Acta Trop. 2006 Mar;97(3):352-6. Epub 2006 Feb 20.

Quinoline resistance associated polymorphisms in the pfcrt, pfmdr1 and pfmrp genes of Plasmodium falciparum in Iran.

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Malaria Research Unit, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine, Karolinska University Hospital, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden.


Plasmodium falciparum resistance to chloroquine (CQ) has been documented in Iran since the early 1980s and has since gradually increased. Iran is therefore reviewing its national drug policy for malaria control. We describe the prevalence of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP) associated with quinoline drug resistance in south eastern Iran. Pre-treatment blood from patients with uncomplicated but symptomatic P. falciparum infection was analysed. Polymorphisms at codons 76, 152, 163 and 220 of the pfcrt gene (chloroquine resistance transporter) and at codons 86, 184, 1034, 1042 and 1246 of the pfmdr1 gene (multidrug resistance) were determined by PCR-RFLP and sequencing. In addition, SNPs on a recently described multidrug resistance protein (pfmrp) and a microsatellite (MS-4760) in the pfnhe-1 (sodium hydrogen exchanger) gene associated with quinoline and quinine resistance, respectively, were investigated for the first time in field samples not from Thailand. pfcrt 76T was found in 99% and pfmdr1 86Y in 72% of the samples. pfmrp 191H and 437S associated with decreased quinoline response were found to be absolutely linked at a frequency of 13.6%. The pfnhe-1 MS-4760 one repeat allele associated to quinine response in vitro was also detected. Sequencing of the pfcrt 72-76 haplotype revealed that SVMNT was the most common allele as previously observed in India. This suggests that pfcrt found in the Iranian P. falciparum population may have the same origin as in the P. falciparum populations in India but different from that normally found in south east Asia. In conclusion, the frequencies of quinoline resistance associated gene polymorphisms in this region suggest a population that has been significantly selected for by the long use of CQ.

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