Reversal of chloroquine resistance in Plasmodium falciparum by verapamil

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Science  20 Feb 1987:
Vol. 235, Issue 4791, pp. 899-901
DOI: 10.1126/science.3544220


The parasite Plasmodium falciparum, like neoplastic cells, develops resistance to multiple structurally unrelated drugs. If the mechanisms by which P. falciparum and neoplastic cells become resistant are similar, then it may be possible to reverse the resistance in the two types of cells by the same pharmacological agents. Verapamil, a calcium channel blocker, completely reversed chloroquine resistance in two chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum clones from Southeast Asia and Brazil. Verapamil reversed chloroquine resistance at the same concentration (1 X 10(-6)M) as that at which it reversed resistance in multidrug-resistant cultured neoplastic cells. This same concentration of verapamil had no effect on chloroquine-sensitive parasites. Hence, chloroquine resistance in P. falciparum may fit the criteria for the multidrug-resistant phenotype.

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