Mode of action of levamisole and pyrantel, anthelmintic resistance, E153 and Q57

Parasitology. 2007;134(Pt 8):1093-104. doi: 10.1017/S0031182007000029.


Here we review molecular information related to resistance to the cholinergic anthelmintics in nematodes. The amount of molecular information available varies between the nematode species, with the best understood so far being C. elegans. More information is becoming available for some other parasitic species. The cholinergic anthelmintics act on nematode nicotinic acetylcholine receptors located on somatic muscle cells. Recent findings demonstrate the presence of multiple types of the nicotinic receptors in several nematodes and the numerous genes required to form these multimeric proteins. Not only are the receptors the product of several genes but they are subject to modulation by several other proteins. Mutations altering these modulatory proteins could alter sensitivity to the cholinergic anthelmitics and thus lead to resistance. We also discuss the possibility that resistance to the cholinergic anthelmintics is not necessarily the result of a single mutation but may well be polygenic in nature. Additionally, the mutations resulting in resistance may vary between different species or between resistant isolates of the same species. A list of candidate genes to examine for SNPs is presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anthelmintics / pharmacology*
  • Drug Resistance / genetics*
  • Levamisole / pharmacology*
  • Nematoda / drug effects*
  • Nematoda / genetics*
  • Pyrantel / pharmacology*


  • Anthelmintics
  • Levamisole
  • Pyrantel