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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2012 Jun;56(6):2831-6. doi: 10.1128/AAC.06418-11. Epub 2012 Mar 26.

Molecular characterization of multidrug-resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis isolated in Nepal.

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Division of Global Epidemiology, Hokkaido University Research Center for Zoonosis Control, Sapporo, Japan.


Despite the fact that Nepal is one of the first countries globally to introduce multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) case management, the number of MDR-TB cases is continuing to rise in Nepal. Rapid molecular tests applicable in this setting to identify resistant organisms would be an effective tool in reversing this trend. To develop such tools, information about the frequency and distribution of mutations that are associated with phenotypic drug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis is required. In the present study, we investigated the prevalence of mutations in rpoB and katG genes and the inhA promoter region in 158 M. tuberculosis isolates (109 phenotypically MDR and 49 non-MDR isolates collected in Nepal) by DNA sequencing. Mutations affecting the 81-bp rifampin (RIF) resistance-determining region (RRDR) of rpoB were identified in 106 of 109 (97.3%) RIF-resistant isolates. Codons 531, 526, and 516 were the most commonly affected, at percentages of 58.7, 15.6, and 15.6%, respectively. Of 113 isoniazid (INH)-resistant isolates, 99 (87.6%) had mutations in the katG gene, with Ser315Thr being the most prevalent (81.4%) substitution. Mutations in the inhA promoter region were detected in 14 (12.4%) INH-resistant isolates. The results from this study provide an overview of the current situation of RIF and INH resistance in M. tuberculosis in Nepal and can serve as a basis for developing or improving rapid molecular tests to monitor drug-resistant strains in this country.

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