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Malar J. 2011 Jun 14;10:164. doi: 10.1186/1475-2875-10-164.

Polymorphism of Plasmodium falciparum Na(+)/H(+) exchanger is indicative of a low in vitro quinine susceptibility in isolates from Viet Nam.

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UMR-MD3 Relations Hôte-Parasite, Pharmacologie et Thérapeutique, Université de la Méditerranée, Institut de Médecine Tropicale du Service de Santé des Armées, Antenne IRBA-Marseille, Marseille, France.



The Plasmodium falciparum NA+/H+ exchanger (pfnhe1, gene PF13_0019) has recently been proposed to influence quinine (QN) susceptibility. However, its contribution to QN resistance seems to vary geographically depending on the genetic background of the parasites. Here, the role of this gene was investigated in in vitro QN susceptibility of isolates from Viet Nam.


Ninety-eight isolates were obtained from three different regions of the Binh Phuoc and Dak Nong bordering Cambodia provinces during 2006-2008. Among these, 79 were identified as monoclonal infection and were genotyped at the microsatellite pfnhe1 ms4760 locus and in vitro QN sensitivity data were obtained for 51 isolates. Parasite growth was assessed in the field using the HRP2 immunodetection assay.


Significant associations were found between polymorphisms at pfnhe1 microsatellite ms4760 and susceptibility to QN. Isolates with two or more DNNND exhibited much lower susceptibility to QN than those harbouring zero or one DNNND repeats (median IC(50) of 682 nM versus median IC(50) of 300 nM; p = 0.0146) while isolates with one NHNDNHNNDDD repeat presented significantly reduced QN susceptibility than those who had two (median IC(50) of 704 nM versus median IC(50) of 375 nM; p < 0.01). These QNR associated genotype features were mainly due to the over representation of profile 7 among isolates (76.5%). The majority of parasites had pfcrt76T and wild-type pfmdr1 (> 95%) thus preventing analysis of associations with these mutations. Interestingly, area with the highest median QN IC(50) showed also the highest percentage of isolates carrying the pfnhe1 haplotype 7.


The haplotype 7 which is the typical Asian profile is likely well-adapted to high drug pressure in this area and may constitute a good genetic marker to evaluate the dissemination of QNR in this part of the world.

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