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Malar J. 2010 Nov 10;9:318. doi: 10.1186/1475-2875-9-318.

Effects of anti-malarial drugs on the electrocardiographic QT interval modelled in the isolated perfused guinea pig heart system.

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Division of Drug Informatics, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Himeji Dokkyo University, 7-2-1 Kamiono, Himeji, Hyogo, 670-8524 Japan.



Concern over the potential cardiotoxicity of anti-malarial drugs inducing a prolonged electrocardiographic QT interval has resulted in the almost complete withdrawal from the market of one anti-malarial drug - halofantrine. The effects on the QT interval of four anti-malarial drugs were examined, using the guinea pig heart.


The guinea pig heart was isolated, mounted on a Langendorff apparatus, and was then perfused with pyruvate-added Klebs-Henseleit solutions containing graded concentrations of the four agents such as quinidine (0.15 - 1.2 μM), quinine (0.3 - 2.4 μM), halofantrine (0.1 - 2.0 μM) and mefloquine (0.1 - 2.0 μM). The heart rate-corrected QaTc intervals were measured to evaluate drug-induced QT prolongation effects.


Quinidine, quinine, and halofantrine prolonged the QaTc interval in a dose-dependent manner, whereas no such effect was found with mefloquine. The EC50 values for the QaTc prolongation effects, the concentration that gives a half-maximum effect, were quinidine < quinine ≈ halofantrine.


In this study, an isolated, perfused guinea pig heart system was constructed to assess the cardiotoxic potential of anti-malarial drugs. This isolated perfused guinea pig heart system could be used to test newly developed anti-malarial drugs for their inherent QT lengthening potential. More information is required on the potential variation in unbound drug concentrations in humans, and their role in cardiotoxicity.

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