Molecular surveillance of the Pfmdr1 N86Y allele among Congolese pregnant women with asymptomatic malaria

Malar J. 2020 May 8;19(1):178. doi: 10.1186/s12936-020-03246-0.


Background: Malaria in pregnancy is associated with considerable morbidity and mortality. Regular surveillance of artemisinin-based combination therapy tolerance, or molecular makers of resistance, is vital for effective malaria treatment, control and eradication programmes. Plasmodium falciparum multiple drug resistance-1 gene (Pfmdr1) N86Y mutation is associated with reduced susceptibility to lumefantrine. This study assessed the prevalence of Pfmdr1 N86Y in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo.

Methods: A total 1001 of P. falciparum-infected blood samples obtained from asymptomatic malaria pregnant women having a normal child delivery at the Madibou Integrated Health Centre were analysed. Pfmdr1 N86Y genotyping was conducted using PCR-restriction fragment length polymorphism.

Results: The wild type Pfmdr1 N86 allele was predominant (> 68%) in this study, whereas a few isolates carrying the either the mutant allele (Pfmdr1 86Y) alone or both alleles (mixed genotype). The dominance of the wildtype allele (pfmdr1 N86) indicates the plausible decline P. falciparum susceptibility to lumefantrine.

Conclusion: This study gives an update on the prevalence of Pfmdr1 N86Y alleles in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. It also raises concern on the imminent emergence of resistance against artemether-lumefantrine in this setting. This study underscores the importance to regular artemether-lumefantrine efficacy monitoring to inform the malaria control programme of the Republic of Congo.

Keywords: Antimalarial drug resistance; Brazzaville; Lumefantrine; Pfmdr1; Plasmodium falciparum; Republic of Congo.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antimalarials / pharmacology*
  • Congo
  • Drug Resistance / genetics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lumefantrine / pharmacology*
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / genetics*
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Plasmodium falciparum / drug effects
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Restriction Fragment Length
  • Pregnancy
  • Young Adult


  • Antimalarials
  • Mdr1 protein, Plasmodium falciparum
  • Multidrug Resistance-Associated Proteins
  • Lumefantrine