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Resistance to chloroquine is a public health problem worldwide. Polymorphisms of the Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistance transporter (pfcrt) and P. falciparum multidrug resistance 1 (pfmdr1) genes have been linked to chloroquine resistance. Although the K76T mutation in the pfcrt gene has been shown to be a key determinant in chloroquine resistance, evidence suggests that the pfmdr1 gene could modulate the level of chloroquine resistance. However, few studies of field isolates could identify the interactive role of these two genes in chloroquine resistance. Thus, we evaluated the influence of pfcrt and pfmdr1 polymorphisms on in vitro chloroquine sensitivity in 89 adapted isolates of P. falciparum from Thailand. We found that 87 of 89 isolates contained the CVIET haplotype of the pfcrt gene. Two additional mutations in the pfcrt gene were identified, i.e., K6Q and H97L. For the pfmdr1 polymorphisms, the 184F allele was common in the parasites isolated along the Thailand-Cambodia border, and those isolated along the Thailand-Myanmar border contained higher copy numbers. Our results indicate that the additional mutations, in particular H97L in the pfcrt gene and Y184F in the pfmdr1 gene and its copy number, influence the level of chloroquine resistance.
Financial support: This study was supported by the Office of Research Development, the Ministry of Defence, Thailand, and the Phramongkutklao Research Fund.
Authors' addresses: Chavachol Setthaudom and Peerapan Tan-ariya, Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Naruemon Sitthichot, Rommanee Khositnithikul, Nantana Suwandittakul, Saovanee Leelayoova, and Mathirut Mungthin, Department of Parasitology, Phramongkutklao College of Medicine, Bangkok, Thailand, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org.