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Int J Parasitol Drugs Drug Resist. 2011 Nov 7;2:58-75. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpddr.2011.10.001. eCollection 2012 Dec.

P-glycoproteins and other multidrug resistance transporters in the pharmacology of anthelmintics: Prospects for reversing transport-dependent anthelmintic resistance.

Author information

1
INRA UMR1331, Université de Toulouse, INP, TOXALIM, F-31027 Toulouse, France.
2
Institute of Parasitology, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.

Abstract

Parasitic helminths cause significant disease in animals and humans. In the absence of alternative treatments, anthelmintics remain the principal agents for their control. Resistance extends to the most important class of anthelmintics, the macrocyclic lactone endectocides (MLs), such as ivermectin, and presents serious problems for the livestock industries and threatens to severely limit current parasite control strategies in humans. Understanding drug resistance is important for optimizing and monitoring control, and reducing further selection for resistance. Multidrug resistance (MDR) ABC transporters have been implicated in ML resistance and contribute to resistance to a number of other anthelmintics. MDR transporters, such as P-glycoproteins, are essential for many cellular processes that require the transport of substrates across cell membranes. Being overexpressed in response to chemotherapy in tumour cells and to ML-based treatment in nematodes, they lead to therapy failure by decreasing drug concentration at the target. Several anthelmintics are inhibitors of these efflux pumps and appropriate combinations can result in higher treatment efficacy against parasites and reversal of resistance. However, this needs to be balanced against possible increased toxicity to the host, or the components of the combination selecting on the same genes involved in the resistance. Increased efficacy could result from modifying anthelmintic pharmacokinetics in the host or by blocking parasite transporters involved in resistance. Combination of anthelmintics can be beneficial for delaying selection for resistance. However, it should be based on knowledge of resistance mechanisms and not simply on mode of action classes, and is best started before resistance has been selected to any member of the combination. Increasing knowledge of the MDR transporters involved in anthelmintic resistance in helminths will play an important role in allowing for the identification of markers to monitor the spread of resistance and to evaluate new tools and management practices aimed at delaying its spread.

KEYWORDS:

Anthelmintic resistance; Macrocyclic lactones; Multidrug ABC transporters; P-glycoproteins

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