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Acta Trop. 2010 Feb;113(2):190-4. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2009.10.016. Epub 2009 Oct 30.

Monitoring of in vitro susceptibilities and molecular markers of resistance of Plasmodium falciparum isolates from Thai-Myanmar border to chloroquine, quinine, mefloquine and artesunate.

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Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, Thammasat University, Rangsit, Patumthani 12121, Thailand.


Malaria is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The major factor which has aggravated the situation is the emergence of multidrug resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria. To successfully deal with the problem, thorough understanding of the molecular bases for reduced parasite sensitivity to existing antimalarial drugs is of considerable importance. The objective of this work was to broaden the insight into the molecular mechanisms of resistance of P. falciparum to quinoline-containing antimalarials and artemisinin derivatives. Polymorphisms of the candidate genes pfmdr1 and pfcrt were investigated in relation to the susceptibility (in vitro sensitivity) of P. falciparum isolates to chloroquine (CQ), mefloquine (MQ), quinine (QN) and the artemisinin derivative - artesunate (AS). A total of 26 P. falciparum isolates were successful cultured. In vitro sensitivity results indicate the increase in susceptibility of P. falciparum strains in Thailand to CQ, while the susceptibility to MQ and QN was markedly declined. The pattern of cross-resistance was observed between MQ vs QN vs AS. Only one point mutation in the pfmdr1 gene, i.e., N86Y was observed with low prevalence of 7.7% (2/26). In contrast, the mutations at positions 76T, 220S, 271E, 326S, 356T and 371I in the pfcrt gene were identified in almost all isolates (25 isolates, 96.2%). The association between polymorphisms of the pfmdr1 and susceptibility of the parasite to MQ and QN was observed (increased susceptibilities to MQ and QN in isolates with mutations). Moreover, the correlation between pfmdr1 gene amplification and susceptibility of the parasite to MQ, QN and AS was observed (decreased susceptibilities to MQ, QN and AS in isolates with increased pfmdr1 copy number).

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