Polymorphisms in the Plasmodium falciparum pfcrt and pfmdr-1 genes and clinical response to chloroquine in Kampala, Uganda

J Infect Dis. 2001 May 1;183(9):1417-20. doi: 10.1086/319865. Epub 2001 Mar 27.


The molecular mechanism of chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum remains uncertain. Polymorphisms in the pfcrt and pfmdr-1 genes have been associated with chloroquine resistance in vitro, although field studies are limited. In evaluations of known polymorphisms in parasites from patients with uncomplicated malaria in Kampala, Uganda, the presence of 8 pfcrt mutations and 2 pfmdr-1 mutations did not correlate with clinical response to therapy with chloroquine. Most notably, the pfcrt lysine-->threonine mutation at position 76, which recently correlated fully with chloroquine resistance in vitro, was present in 100% of 114 isolates, of which about half were from patients who recovered clinically after chloroquine therapy. These results suggest that, although key pfcrt polymorphisms may be necessary for the elaboration of resistance to chloroquine in areas with high levels of chloroquine resistance, other factors, such as host immunity, may contribute to clinical outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters*
  • Animals
  • Antimalarials / pharmacology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chloroquine / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistance / genetics
  • Female
  • Genes, Protozoan
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Malaria, Falciparum / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Plasmodium falciparum / drug effects*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics*
  • Point Mutation
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uganda


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Antimalarials
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • PfCRT protein, Plasmodium falciparum
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • mdr gene protein, Plasmodium
  • Chloroquine