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Parasitol Res. 2013 Jun;112(6):2341-51. doi: 10.1007/s00436-013-3398-z. Epub 2013 Apr 10.

P-glycoprotein efflux pump plays an important role in Trypanosoma cruzi drug resistance.

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Laboratório de Bioquímica de Tripanosomatídeos, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, IOC, Avenida Brasil 4365, Manguinhos, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Drug resistance in protozoan parasites has been associated with the P-glycoprotein (Pgp), an energy-dependent efflux pump that transports substances across the membrane. Interestingly, the genes TcPGP1 and TcPGP2 have been described in Trypanosoma cruzi, although the function of these genes has not been fully elucidated. The main goal of this work was to investigate Pgp efflux pump activity and expression in T. cruzi lines submitted to in vitro induced resistance to the compounds 4-N-(2-methoxy styryl)-thiosemicarbazone (2-Meotio) and benznidazole (Bz) and to verify the stability of the resistant phenotypes during the parasite life cycle. We observed that the EC50 values for the treatment of epimastigotes with 2-Meotio or Bz were increased at least 4.7-fold in resistant lines, and this phenotype was maintained in metacyclic trypomastigotes, cell-derived trypomastigotes, and intracellular amastigotes. However, in epimastigotes, 2-Meotio resistance is reversible, but Bz resistance is irreversible. When compared with the parental line, the resistant lines exhibited higher Pgp efflux activity, reversion of the resistant phenotypes in the presence of Pgp inhibitors, cross-resistance with Pgp modulators, higher basal Pgp ATPase activity, and overexpression of the genes TcPGP1 and TcPGP2. In conclusion, the resistance induced in T. cruzi by the compounds 2-Meotio and Bz is maintained during the entire parasite life cycle. Furthermore, our data suggest the participation of the Pgp efflux pump in T. cruzi drug resistance.

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