Effects of combined drug treatments on Plasmodium falciparum: In vitro assays with doxycycline, ivermectin and efflux pump inhibitors.

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From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 15, Issue 4)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Article
Length: 6,418 words
Lexile Measure: 1470L

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Abstract :

There is great concern regarding the rapid emergence and spread of drug-resistance in Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite responsible for the most severe form of human malaria. Parasite populations resistant to some or all the currently available antimalarial treatments are present in different world regions. Considering the need for novel and integrated approaches to control malaria, combinations of drugs were tested on P. falciparum. The primary focus was on doxycycline, an antibiotic that specifically targets the apicoplast of the parasite. In combination with doxycycline, three different drugs known to inhibit efflux pumps (verapamil, elacridar and ivermectin) were tested, with the assumption that they could increase the intracellular concentration of the antibiotic and consequently its efficacy against P. falciparum. We emphasize that elacridar is a third-generation ABC transporters inhibitor, never tested before on malaria parasites. In vitro experiments were performed on asexual stages of two strains of P. falciparum, chloroquine-sensitive (D10) and chloroquine-resistant (W2). Incubation times on asynchronous or synchronous cultures were 72h or 96h, respectively. The antiplasmodial effect (i.e. the IC.sub.50) was determined by measuring the activity of the parasite lactate dehydrogenase, while the interaction between drugs was determined through combination index (CI) analyses. Elacridar achieved an IC.sub.50 concentration comparable to that of ivermectin, approx. 10-fold lower than that of verapamil, the other tested ABC transporter inhibitor. CI results showed synergistic effect of verapamil plus doxycycline, which is coherent with the starting hypothesis, i.e. that ABC transporters represent potential targets, worth of further investigations, towards the development of companion molecules useful to enhance the efficacy of antimalarial drugs. At the same time, the observed antagonistic effect of doxycycline in combination with ivermectin or elacridar highlighted the importance of drug testing, to avoid the de-facto generation of a sub-dosage, a condition that facilitates the development of drug resistance.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A621763341