Plasmodium falciparum: evaluation of lactate dehydrogenase in monitoring therapeutic responses to standard antimalarial drugs in Nigeria

Exp Parasitol. 1997 Nov;87(3):283-9. doi: 10.1006/expr.1997.4251.


The correlation of P. falciparum lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) activities and patent infections was evaluated for monitoring therapeutic responses and drug resistance in 70 patients with microscopically confirmed P. falciparum malaria in Nigeria. Each patient was treated with standard dosages of artemether (53 patients), chloroquine (7 patients), sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (6 patients), or halofantrine (4 patients). Response of infection to treatment was monitored by microscopic examination of thick and thin blood smears, clinical symptoms, and levels of pLDH activities in blood products. pLDH activity was determined using an antibody capture technique and 3-acetyl pyridine adenine dinucleotide developed to enhance sensitivity of the enzyme detection. All patients treated with artemether were cured while 5 patients treated with chloroquine, 1 treated with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, and 2 treated with halofantrine suffered recrudescent infections after treatment. pLDH activity was detected in blood products obtained from patients with patent or recrudescent infections determined by microscopy and clinical symptoms. Levels of pLDH activities in whole blood and packed cells from the patients correlated with qualitative detection of parasites in blood smears and in patients with high gametocyte counts. Gametocyte counts in the patients after treatment ranged from 40 gametocytes/microliter of blood to 4923 gametocytes/microliter of blood. There is a consistent relationship between patent infection and pLDH activities that could easily be determined in whole blood and packed cells from the patients. Further development of the procedure will enhance its valuable application in clinical management of drug-resistant malaria in the endemic areas.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use*
  • Artemether
  • Artemisinins*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chloroquine / therapeutic use
  • Drug Combinations
  • Drug Resistance
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / analysis*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / blood
  • Malaria, Falciparum / drug therapy*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / enzymology
  • Malaria, Falciparum / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Nigeria / epidemiology
  • Phenanthrenes / therapeutic use
  • Pyrimethamine / therapeutic use
  • Sesquiterpenes / therapeutic use
  • Sulfadoxine / therapeutic use
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antimalarials
  • Artemisinins
  • Drug Combinations
  • Phenanthrenes
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • fanasil, pyrimethamine drug combination
  • Sulfadoxine
  • Chloroquine
  • Artemether
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase
  • halofantrine
  • Pyrimethamine