In vitro sensitivities of Plasmodium falciparum to different antimalarial drugs in Uganda

Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2010 Mar;54(3):1200-6. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01412-09. Epub 2010 Jan 11.


The control of malaria is challenged by resistance of Plasmodium falciparum to multiple drugs. New combination regimens are now advocated for the treatment of uncomplicated falciparum malaria, but the extent of resistance to newer agents is incompletely understood. We measured the in vitro sensitivity of P. falciparum parasites cultured from children enrolled in a drug efficacy trial in Kampala, Uganda, from 2006 to 2008. Sensitivities were measured by comparing levels of histidine-rich protein-2 in parasites incubated with different concentrations of drugs with those in untreated controls. The cultured parasites exhibited a wide range of sensitivities to chloroquine (CQ); monodesethylamodiaquine (MDAQ), the major active metabolite of amodiaquine; and quinine (QN). Mean 50% inhibitory concentration (IC(50)) results were above standard cutoffs for resistance for CQ and MDAQ. Parasites were generally sensitive to dihydroartemisinin (DHA), lumefantrine (LM), and piperaquine (PQ). For CQ, MDAQ, and QN but not the other drugs, activities against individual strains were highly correlated. We also assessed known resistance-mediating polymorphisms in two putative transporters, pfcrt and pfmdr1. When parasites that were least and most sensitive to each drug were compared, the pfmdr1 86Y mutation was significantly more common in parasites that were most resistant to CQ and MDAQ, and the pfmdr1 D1246Y mutation was significantly more common in parasites that were most resistant to MDAQ and QN. In summary, we demonstrated in parasites from Kampala a range of sensitivities to older drugs; correlation of sensitivities to CQ, MDAQ, and QN; and good activity against nearly all strains for DHA, LM, and PQ.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antimalarials / pharmacology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Drug Resistance / genetics
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Falciparum / drug therapy
  • Malaria, Falciparum / parasitology
  • Membrane Transport Proteins / genetics
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / genetics
  • Parasitic Sensitivity Tests / methods
  • Plasmodium falciparum / drug effects*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics
  • Plasmodium falciparum / metabolism
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Uganda


  • Antimalarials
  • Mdr1 protein, Plasmodium falciparum
  • Membrane Transport Proteins
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • PfCRT protein, Plasmodium falciparum
  • Protozoan Proteins