Impact of Intermittent Preventive Treatment During Pregnancy on Plasmodium falciparum Drug Resistance-Mediating Polymorphisms in Uganda

J Infect Dis. 2017 Nov 15;216(8):1008-1017. doi: 10.1093/infdis/jix421.


Background: In a recent trial of intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) in Uganda, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DP) was superior to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) in preventing maternal and placental malaria.

Methods: We compared genotypes using sequencing, fluorescent microsphere, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction assays at loci associated with drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum isolated from subjects receiving DP or SP.

Results: Considering aminoquinoline resistance, DP was associated with increased prevalences of mutations at pfmdr1 N86Y, pfmdr1 Y184F, and pfcrt K76T compared to SP (64.6% vs 27.4%, P < .001; 93.9% vs 59.2%, P < .001; and 87.7% vs 75.4%, P = .03, respectively). Increasing plasma piperaquine concentration at the time of parasitemia was associated with increasing pfmdr1 86Y prevalence; no infections with the N86 genotype occurred with piperaquine >2.75 ng/mL. pfkelch13 propeller domain polymorphisms previously associated with artemisinin resistance were not identified. Recently identified markers of piperaquine resistance were uncommon and not associated with DP. Considering antifolate resistance, SP was associated with increased prevalence of a 5-mutation haplotype (pfdhfr 51I, 59R, and 108N; pfdhps 437G and 581G) compared to DP (90.8% vs 60.0%, P = .001).

Conclusions: IPTp selected for genotypes associated with decreased sensitivity to treatment regimens, but genotypes associated with clinically relevant DP resistance in Asia have not emerged in Uganda.

Keywords: IPT; P. falciparum; dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine; drug resistance; sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use*
  • Artemisinins / therapeutic use
  • Drug Combinations
  • Drug Resistance*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Falciparum / drug therapy*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / parasitology
  • Plasmodium falciparum / drug effects
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pyrimethamine / therapeutic use
  • Quinolines
  • Sulfadoxine / therapeutic use


  • Antimalarials
  • Artemisinins
  • Drug Combinations
  • Quinolines
  • fanasil, pyrimethamine drug combination
  • dihydroartemisinin
  • Sulfadoxine
  • artemisinine
  • piperaquine
  • Pyrimethamine