Resistance to sulphadrug-based antifolate therapy in malaria: are we looking in the right place?
Sulphadrug treatment failure in malaria therapy cannot solely be ascribed to the build-up of genetic resistance within the parasitic genome. Although numerous in vitro studies have tried to determine the exact genetic markers that could predict treatment outcome in patients, this research has not been conclusive. Sulphadrugs work by competitive inhibition with pABA at one point of the pathway to de novo folate synthesis. However, evidence suggests that the malaria parasite is capable of overcoming this competitive inhibition by switching over to other metabolic pathways, like direct folate salvage from a person's bloodstream. In other words, increased folic acid administration, via diet or supplementation, may have reduced the effectiveness of sulphadrugs more than genetic mutations. Although in vitro studies are valuable for understanding disease mechanisms, we should not forget that the human being is infinitely more complex than any laboratory model.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 2006