gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA effects are largely mediated by binding to the postsynaptic GABAA receptor, causing the opening of an integral chloride-ion channel. The GABAA antagonists picrotoxin and bicuculline reduce some ethanol-induced behaviors, such as motor impairment, sedation, and hypnosis. The role of this receptor in alcoholism is further supported by effective alleviation of alcohol withdrawal symptoms by GABAA agonists.
Only recently have studies of electrocortical activity, event-related potentials, and regional cerebral blood flow begun to shed light on the anatomical and neurobiological underpinnings of hypnosis. Since twin studies show a significant heritable component for hypnotizability, we were prompted to examine the role of a common, functional polymorphism in contributing to individual differences in hypnotizability. A group of 109 subjects (51 male, 59 female) were administered three psychological instruments and tested for the high/low enzyme activity COMT val-->met polymorphism.
New antimalarial drugs are urgently needed. The use of short courses of the new antimalarial drug artemether as monotherapy has been limited by secondary malaria episodes following parasite clearance. Therefore, a new antimalarial drug, CGP 56697, has been developed, which combines artemether with a longer-acting antimalarial agent, benflumetol. A safety trial was undertaken in 60 Gambian children 1-6 years old with uncomplicated Plasmodium falciparum malaria. All children treated with CGP 56697 cleared their parasites 72 h after the start of treatment.
The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Artemisinin derivatives are first-line antimalarial drugs in Thailand. No firm evidence of clinically relevant artemisinin resistance exists. When used as monotherapy, artesunate has been associated with a high treatment failure (recrudescence) rate, which could be due to low-level artemisinin resistance. To understand the causes of recrudescence, we retrospectively studied a cohort of 104 malaria patients treated with artesunate monotherapy, 32 of whom recrudesced.
Resistance to antimalarial drugs is a public health problem worldwide. Molecular markers for drug-resistant malaria, such as pfcrt and pfmdr1 polymorphisms, could serve as useful surveillance tools. To evaluate this possibility, sequence polymorphisms in pfcrt (position 76) and pfmdr1 (positions 86, 184, 1034, 1042, and 1246) and in vitro drug sensitivities were measured for 65 Plasmodium falciparum isolates from Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Bangladesh.
BACKGROUND: The borders of Thailand harbour the world's most multidrug resistant Plasmodium falciparum parasites. In 1984 mefloquine was introduced as treatment for uncomplicated falciparum malaria, but substantial resistance developed within 6 years. A combination of artesunate with mefloquine now cures more than 95% of acute infections. For both treatment regimens, the underlying mechanisms of resistance are not known.
Ever since the discovery of the first case of chloroquine resistance along the Thai-Combodian border in the late 1950s, Southeast Asia has played an important role as a focus for the development of drug resistance in Plasmodium falciparum.
Mu et al. (Mu, J., M. T. Ferdig, X. Feng, D. A. Joy, J. Duan, T. Furuya, G. Subramanian, L. Aravind, R. A. Cooper, J. C. Wootton, M. Xiong, and X. Z. Su, Mol. Microbiol. 49:977-989, 2003) recently reported exciting associations between nine new candidate transporter genes and in vitro resistance to chloroquine (CQ) and quinine (QN), with six of these loci showing association with CQ or QN in a southeast Asian population sample.
Recently, Ghana has changed the first-line treatment of uncomplicated malaria from chloroquine to amodiaquine (AQ) plus artesunate. AQ may cause adverse events such as agranulocytosis and hepatoxicity. The pro-drug AQ is transformed by cytochrome P450 CYP2C8 to the active metabolite N-desethylaminodiaquine. Several polymorphic variants of CYP2C8 are known, some with reduced activity. In 200 randomly selected children from Northern Ghana, we determined the allele frequencies of the CYP2C8 variants CYP2C8*1 (wild type), CYP2C8*2, CYP2C8*3, and CYP2C8*4.
Polymorphisms in the Plasmodium falciparum pfmdr1 gene were assayed in pretreatment samples and in samples from patients reinfected following therapy with artemether-lumefantrine. The pfmdr1 alleles 86N, 184F, and 1246D significantly increased in prevalence after treatment. All samples had a single pfmdr1 copy. Treatment with artemether-lumefantrine selects for polymorphisms that may alter antimalarial drug response.