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Bull World Health Organ. 1974;50(3-4):213-22.

Assessment of causal prophylactic activity in Plasmodium berghei yoelii and its value for the development of new antimalarial drugs.


The causal prophylactic activity of several reference and experimental antimalarial compounds was assessed in sporozoite-induced infections of NMRI mice with Plasmodium berghei yoelii (strain 17X). The animals were inoculated with 10 000 sporozoites per mouse and treated once 2-4 hours later. The test system has proved to be very suitable in experiments involving more than 3 000 mice. The infection rate in 448 untreated controls was 97.3%. Lowering the sporozoite content of the inoculum to 1 000 or 100 sporozoites markedly reduced the rate (65.1% and 32.7%). In experiments with primaquine the causal prophylactic activity was also influenced by the time of drug administration before or after sporozoite inoculation. No causal prophylactic effect was demonstrable with quinine, chloroquine, amodiaquine, amopyroquine, RC-12, or B 505. Primaquine was active, but pamaquine and pentaquine were only sporadically active. The pre-erythrocytic stages of P. b. yoelii were only slightly sensitive to dapsone, sulfadiazine, and sulformethoxine; they were 10-100 times more susceptible to proguanil, cycloguanil, and pyrimethamine. The experimental 6-aminoquinolines NI 147/36, NI 187/82, and BA 138/111 and the 7-chlorolincomycin derivative U 24729 were also studied. Experiments in which curative activity against blood-induced infections of P. b. yoelii was evaluated showed that the causal prophylactics act more specifically against the pre-erythrocytic than against the erythrocytic forms. This specificity was most pronounced among the DHFR-inhibitors, whose outstanding activity may be explained by the fact that the rate of multiplication of the pre-erythrocytic forms of P. b. yoelii is greater than that of other plasmodia used hitherto; it is also greater than the rate shown by the malaria parasites of man and that of the erythrocytic forms of P. b. yoelii itself. We believe that this feature will render P. b. yoelii very useful for determination of the causal prophylactic activity of new compounds, but it may also overrate the potency of drugs that interfere with nucleic acid biosynthesis.

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