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      Polymorphisms in Plasmodium falciparum Chloroquine Resistance Transporter and Multidrug Resistance 1 Genes: Parasite Risk Factors that Affect Treatment Outcomes for P. falciparum Malaria after Artemether-Lumefantrine and Artesunate-Amodiaquine

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      , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , * , for the WWARN AL and ASAQ Molecular Marker Study Group

      The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

      The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

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          Abstract

          Adequate clinical and parasitologic cure by artemisinin combination therapies relies on the artemisinin component and the partner drug. Polymorphisms in the Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter ( pfcrt) and P. falciparum multidrug resistance 1 ( pfmdr1) genes are associated with decreased sensitivity to amodiaquine and lumefantrine, but effects of these polymorphisms on therapeutic responses to artesunate-amodiaquine (ASAQ) and artemether-lumefantrine (AL) have not been clearly defined. Individual patient data from 31 clinical trials were harmonized and pooled by using standardized methods from the WorldWide Antimalarial Resistance Network. Data for more than 7,000 patients were analyzed to assess relationships between parasite polymorphisms in pfcrt and pfmdr1 and clinically relevant outcomes after treatment with AL or ASAQ. Presence of the pfmdr1 gene N86 (adjusted hazards ratio = 4.74, 95% confidence interval = 2.29 – 9.78, P < 0.001) and increased pfmdr1 copy number (adjusted hazards ratio = 6.52, 95% confidence interval = 2.36–17.97, P < 0.001 ) were significant independent risk factors for recrudescence in patients treated with AL. AL and ASAQ exerted opposing selective effects on single-nucleotide polymorphisms in pfcrt and pfmdr1. Monitoring selection and responding to emerging signs of drug resistance are critical tools for preserving efficacy of artemisinin combination therapies; determination of the prevalence of at least pfcrt K76T and pfmdr1 N86Y should now be routine.

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          A molecular marker for chloroquine-resistant falciparum malaria.

          Chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium falciparum malaria is a major health problem, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Chloroquine resistance has been associated in vitro with point mutations in two genes, pfcrt and pfmdr 1, which encode the P. falciparum digestive-vacuole transmembrane proteins PfCRT and Pgh1, respectively. To assess the value of these mutations as markers for clinical chloroquine resistance, we measured the association between the mutations and the response to chloroquine treatment in patients with uncomplicated falciparum malaria in Mali. The frequencies of the mutations in patients before and after treatment were compared for evidence of selection of resistance factors as a result of exposure to chloroquine. The pfcrt mutation resulting in the substitution of threonine (T76) for lysine at position 76 was present in all 60 samples from patients with chloroquine-resistant infections (those that persisted or recurred after treatment), as compared with a base-line prevalence of 41 percent in samples obtained before treatment from 116 randomly selected patients (P<0.001), indicating absolute selection for this mutation. The pfmdr 1 mutation resulting in the substitution of tyrosine for asparagine at position 86 was also selected for, since it was present in 48 of 56 post-treatment samples from patients with chloroquine-resistant infections (86 percent), as compared with a base-line prevalence of 50 percent in 115 samples obtained before treatment (P<0.001). The presence of pfcrt T76 was more strongly associated with the development of chloroquine resistance (odds ratio, 18.8; 95 percent confidence interval, 6.5 to 58.3) than was the presence of pfmdr 1 Y86 (odds ratio, 3.2; 95 percent confidence interval, 1.5 to 6.8) or the presence of both mutations (odds ratio, 9.8; 95 percent confidence interval, 4.4 to 22.1). This study shows an association between the pfcrt T76 mutation in P. falciparum and the development of chloroquine resistance during the treatment of malaria. This mutation can be used as a marker in surveillance for chloroquine-resistant falciparum malaria.
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            Mefloquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum and increased pfmdr1 gene copy number.

            The borders of Thailand harbour the world's most multidrug resistant Plasmodium falciparum parasites. In 1984 mefloquine was introduced as treatment for uncomplicated falciparum malaria, but substantial resistance developed within 6 years. A combination of artesunate with mefloquine now cures more than 95% of acute infections. For both treatment regimens, the underlying mechanisms of resistance are not known. The relation between polymorphisms in the P falciparum multidrug resistant gene 1 (pfmdr1) and the in-vitro and in-vivo responses to mefloquine were assessed in 618 samples from patients with falciparum malaria studied prospectively over 12 years. pfmdr1 copy number was assessed by a robust real-time PCR assay. Single nucleotide polymorphisms of pfmdr1, P falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter gene (pfcrt) and P falciparum Ca2+ ATPase gene (pfATP6) were assessed by PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism. Increased copy number of pfmdr1 was the most important determinant of in-vitro and in-vivo resistance to mefloquine, and also to reduced artesunate sensitivity in vitro. In a Cox regression model with control for known confounders, increased pfmdr1 copy number was associated with an attributable hazard ratio (AHR) for treatment failure of 6.3 (95% CI 2.9-13.8, p<0.001) after mefloquine monotherapy and 5.4 (2.0-14.6, p=0.001) after artesunate-mefloquine therapy. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in pfmdr1 were associated with increased mefloquine susceptibility in vitro, but not in vivo. Amplification in pfmdr1 is the main cause of resistance to mefloquine in falciparum malaria. Multidrug resistant P falciparum malaria is common in southeast Asia, but difficult to identify and treat. Genes that encode parasite transport proteins maybe involved in export of drugs and so cause resistance. In this study we show that increase in copy number of pfmdr1, a gene encoding a parasite transport protein, is the best overall predictor of treatment failure with mefloquine. Increase in pfmdr1 copy number predicts failure even after chemotherapy with the highly effective combination of mefloquine and 3 days' artesunate. Monitoring of pfmdr1 copy number will be useful in epidemiological surveys of drug resistance in P falciparum, and potentially for predicting treatment failure in individual patients.
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              Pgh1 modulates sensitivity and resistance to multiple antimalarials in Plasmodium falciparum.

              Throughout the latter half of this century, the development and spread of resistance to most front-line antimalarial compounds used in the prevention and treatment of the most severe form of human malaria has given cause for grave clinical concern. Polymorphisms in pfmdr1, the gene encoding the P-glycoprotein homologue 1 (Pgh1) protein of Plasmodium falciparum, have been linked to chloroquine resistance; Pgh1 has also been implicated in resistance to mefloquine and halofantrine. However, conclusive evidence of a direct causal association between pfmdr1 and resistance to these antimalarials has remained elusive, and a single genetic cross has suggested that Pgh1 is not involved in resistance to chloroquine and mefloquine. Here we provide direct proof that mutations in Pgh1 can confer resistance to mefloquine, quinine and halofantrine. The same mutations influence parasite resistance towards chloroquine in a strain-specific manner and the level of sensitivity to the structurally unrelated compound, artemisinin. This has important implications for the development and efficacy of future antimalarial agents.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Am J Trop Med Hyg
                Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg
                tpmd
                The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
                The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
                0002-9637
                1476-1645
                01 October 2014
                01 October 2014
                : 91
                : 4
                : 833-843
                Author notes
                *Address correspondence to Carol Hopkins Sibley, Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Box 355065, Seattle, WA 98195. E-mail: carol.sibley@ 123456wwarn.org
                †Author affiliations listed on page 840.
                Article
                10.4269/ajtmh.14-0031
                4183414
                25048375
                78754dd7-1ca9-4c02-a602-c40c3182e544
                ©The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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                Infectious disease & Microbiology

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