Biochemistry of Pentostam Resistant Leishmania

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  • Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Division of Experimental Therapeutics, Washington, DC

Promastigotes of Leishmania mexicana amazonensis WR 669 clone 4 were made resistant to antimony in the form of Pentostam (sodium stibogluconate) by exposure to media containing increasing concentrations of Sb. The dose of Sb expected to kill 50% of promastigotes and amastigotes of the parent sensitive clone (WR 669) and the resistant clone (WR 669R) was determined by exposure of suspensions in physiologic salt solution for 3 hr. The approximate Ed50s in µg Sb/ml were: 10,000 for WR 669R promastigotes; 7,000 for WR 669R amastigotes; 200 for WR 669 promastigotes; and 150 for WR 669 amastigotes. Thus, Sb resistance and Sb sensitivity expressed by promastigote clones are also expressed by their respective amastigotes. Studies with 125Sb-Pentostam showed that WR 669R amastigote resistance was not due to altered Sb uptake over 1 hr. When amastigotes pretreated with Pentostam were incubated with 14C labeled metabolic precursors, susceptibility to Sb was correlated with inhibition of glycolytic enzymes and of fatty acid beta-oxidation.

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