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Exp Parasitol. 1983 Aug;56(1):9-14.

Plasmodium falciparum: drug sensitivity in vitro of isolates before and after adaptation to continuous culture.


Fifteen strains of Plasmodium falciparum have been cultivated since 1979 using the Trager and Jensen method of continuous culture on isolates from malaria patients. One hundred and two drug sensitivity studies have been carried out on these strains using a semimicro test. Three isolates, initially resistant to chloroquine, adapted rapidly to in vitro cultivation and maintained their high level of resistance (ED50 above 660 nM). Eleven isolates, initially chloroquine sensitive (ED50 under 90 nM) became resistant to this drug (ED50 = 190 to 1950 nM) after the 2-15 weeks required for their adaptation to continuous culture. The resistance of these strains never decreased during the following 15 months of continuous culture. The sensitivity to quinine varied initially from one strain to another (ED50 = 160 to 660 nM) and fluctuated during cultivation in the ratio of 1:3.5 for a given strain. The sensitivity of mefloquine remained high for all strains (ED50 under 150 nM) but one (ED50 = 560 nM). These results suggest that there might be a relationship between in vitro adaptation to culture of P. falciparum by the Trager-Jensen method and a chloroquine-resistant characteristic of the strain. There is the possibility of the emergence of a drug-resistant subpopulation or of changes in the metabolic pathways.

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