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Trends Parasitol. 2011 Feb;27(2):73-81. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2010 Dec 18.

Plasmodium sensitivity to artemisinins: magic bullets hit elusive targets.

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  • 1Centre Suisse de Recherches Scientifiques en Côte d'Ivoire, 01 BP 1303, Abidjan 01, Côte d'Ivoire.


Artemisinins are efficacious antimalarial drugs widely employed as first-line treatment in endemic countries under the form of combined therapies. Different molecular modes of action have been postulated to explain the parasiticidal effect of these compounds; however, none has been unequivocally accepted, and their physiological relevance is still questioned. Similarly, no definite genetic determinant of Plasmodium sensitivity to artemisinins has been identified so far. A better understanding of the mode of action of artemisinins and the genetic basis of laboratory-induced or field-observed altered susceptibility is crucial for malaria control. In this review different models of artemisinins' molecular action are briefly presented, focusing on recent advances, and the evidence of potential association between various gene polymorphisms and artemisinin resistance is comprehensively reviewed.

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