Genotypes and phenotypes of resistance in Ecuadorian Plasmodium falciparum

Gabriela Valenzuela, L. Enrique Castro, Julio Valencia-Zamora, Claudia A. Vera-Arias, Petra Rohrbach, Fabián E. Sáenz

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6 Citas (Scopus)


Background: Malaria continues to be endemic in the coast and Amazon regions of Ecuador. Clarifying current Plasmodium falciparum resistance in the country will support malaria elimination efforts. In this study, Ecuadorian P. falciparum parasites were analysed to determine their drug resistance genotypes and phenotypes. Methods: Molecular analyses were performed to search for mutations in known resistance markers (Pfcrt, Pfdhfr, Pfdhps, Pfmdr1, k13). Pfmdr1 copy number was determined by qPCR. PFMDR1 transporter activity was characterized in live parasites using live cell imaging in combination with the Fluo-4 transport assay. Chloroquine, quinine, lumefantrine, mefloquine, dihydroartemisinin, and artemether sensitivities were measured by in vitro assays. Results: The majority of samples from this study presented the CVMNT genotype for Pfcrt (72-26), NEDF SDFD mutations in Pfmdr1 and wild type genotypes for Pfdhfr, Pfdhps and k13. The Ecuadorian P. falciparum strain ESM-2013 showed in vitro resistance to chloroquine, but sensitivity to quinine, lumefantrine, mefloquine, dihydroartemisinin and artemether. In addition, transport of the fluorochrome Fluo-4 from the cytosol into the digestive vacuole (DV) of the ESM-2013 strain was minimally detected in the DV. All analysed samples revealed one copy of Pfmdr1. Conclusion: This study indicates that Ecuadorian parasites presented the genotype and phenotype for chloroquine resistance and were found to be sensitive to SP, artemether-lumefantrine, quinine, mefloquine, and dihydroartemisinin. The results suggest that the current malaria treatment employed in the country remains effective. This study clarifies the status of anti-malarial resistance in Ecuador and informs the P. falciparum elimination campaigns in the country.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo415
PublicaciónMalaria Journal
EstadoPublicada - 10 dic. 2019

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