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Chloroquine Resistance Reversal Agents as Promising Antimalarial Drugs

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The development and spread of resistance to antimalarial drugs poses a severe and increasing public health threat. Failures of prophylaxis or treatment with quinolines, hydroxynaphthoquinones, sesquiterpene lactones, antifolate drugs and sulfamides are involved in a return malaria-related morbidity and mortality.

Resistance is associated with a decrease in accumulation of drugs into the vacuole, which results from a reduced uptake of the drug, an increased efflux or a combination of both. A number of candidate genes in P. falciparum have been proposed to be involved in antimalarial resistance, each concerned in membrane transport. Weaker or stronger associations are seen in P. falciparum between the resistance to quinolines or artemisinin derivatives and codon changes in Pfmdr1, a gene which encodes Pgh-1, an ortholog of one of the Pglycoproteins expressed in multi-drug resistant human cancer cells (ABC transporter). Further analysis has revealed a new gene, Pfcrt, encoding a PfCRT protein, which resembles an anion channel. Codon changes found in the Pfcrt sequence in drug resistant isolates could facilitate the drug efflux through a putative channel. It has been proposed that the reversal of quinoline resistance by verapamil is due to hydrophobic binding to the mutated PfCRT protein.

Several compounds have demonstrated in the past decade a promising capability to reverse the antimalarial drug resistance in vitro in parasite isolates, in animal models and in human malaria. These drugs belong to different pharmacological classes such as calcium channel blockers, tricyclic antidepressants, antipsychotic calmodulin antagonists, histamine H1-receptor antagonists, analgesic and antipyretic drugs, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and to different chemical classes such as synthetic surfactants, alkaloids from plants used in traditional medicine, pyrrolidinoaminoalkanes and anthracenic derivatives. Here we summarize the progress made in biochemical and genetic basis of antimalarial resistance, emphasizing the recent developments on drugs, which interfere with trans membrane proteins involved in drug efflux or uptake.

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Keywords: ABC; DMT; Drug resistance; Pfcrt; Pfmdr1; drug transporter; modulator; reversion

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Unite de Recherche en Biologie et Epidemiologie Parasitaires, Institut de Medecine Tropicale du Service de Sante des Armees, 13998 Marseille, France.

Publication date: 2006-08-01

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  • Current Drug Targets aims to cover the latest and most outstanding developments on the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of molecular drug targets e.g. disease specific proteins, receptors, enzymes, genes. Each issue of the journal will be devoted to a single timely topic, with series of in-depth reviews, written by leaders in the field, covering a range of current topics on drug targets. These issues will be organized and led by a guest editor who is a recognized expert in the overall topic. As the discovery, identification, characterisation and validation of novel human drug targets for drug discovery continues to grow; this journal will be essential reading for all pharmaceutical scientists involved in drug discovery and development.
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