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Drug Resist Updat. 1998;1(6):389-96.

P. falciparum dihydrofolate reductase and dihydropteroate synthase mutations: epidemiology and role in clinical resistance to antifolates.

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Molecular Parasitology and Malaria Field Studies Unit, Center for Vaccine Development/Division of Geographic Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA.


Plasmodium falciparum resistance to the antifolates has arisen rapidly in Asia and South America, and threatens the usefulness of these drugs in Africa. In vitro resistance to the antifolates is determined by mutations in parasite dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) and dihydropteroate synthase (DHPS). The role of DHFR and DHPS mutations in therapeutic failure of antifolate antimalarials is less clear. This review summarizes molecular epidemiological surveys, studies of in vivo selection of mutant alleles by drug treatment, and prospective studies of the ability of mutation-specific assays to predict clinical outcomes, and discusses the potential use of these assays for surveillance of resistance.


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