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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


GUZMAN, Valentina  and  CARMONA-FONSECA, Jaime. Cytochrome P-450 and the response to antimalarial drugs. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2006, vol.19, n.1, pp.9-22. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the relationship between the genetic and phenotypic factors linked to the cytochrome P-450 enzyme system and the response to the antimalarial drugs chloroquine, amodiaquine, mefloquine, and proguanil, as well as to determine how certain biological and social factors of the host influence the behavior of this enzymatic complex. METHODS: We performed a systematic review of the medical bibliographic databases PubMed, Excerpta Medica, LILACS, and SciELO by using the following Spanish and English descriptors: "CYP-450" and "citocromo P-450" in combination with "proguanil" (and with "mefloquina," "cloroquina," and "amodiaquina"), "farmacocinética de proguanil" (and the same using "mefloquina," "cloroquina," and "amodiaquina"), "resistencia a proguanil" (and the same using "mefloquina," "cloroquina," and "amodiaquina"), "metabolismo," "farmacogenética," "enfermedad," "inflamación," "infección," "enfermedad hepática," "malaria," "nutrición," and "desnutrición." The same terms were used in English. The search included only articles published in Spanish, English, and Portuguese on or before 30 June 2005 that dealt with only four antimalarial drugs: amodiaquine, chloroquine, mefloquine, and proguanil. RESULTS: Some genetic factors linked to human cytochrome P-450 (mainly its polymorphism), as well as other biological and social factors (the presence of disease itself, or of inflammation and infection, the use of antimalarials in their various combinations, and the patient's nutritional status) influence the behavior of this complex enzymatic system. It has only been in the last decade that the genetics of the cytochromes has been explored and that the mechanisms underlying some therapeutic interactions and aspects of drug metabolism have been uncovered, making it possible to characterize the biotransformation pathway of amodiaquine and chloroquine. Hopefully new research will help answer the questions that still remain, some of which pertain to the metabolism of other antimalarial drugs, the distribution in the population of the genetic alleles linked to the enzymes involved in their metabolism, the contribution of these genetic mutations to therapeutic failure, and the possibility of predicting the response to antimalarial therapy. CONCLUSIONS: The therapeutic response to antimalarial drugs is a multifactorial process that is poorly understood, so that it is not possible to ascribe to a specific phenotype or genotype a role in the response to antimalarial therapy. Attention should be given to biological and social factors, such as diet, nutritional status, and inflammatory and infectious processes that are often present in areas where malaria is endemic.

Keywords : Cytochrome P-450 enzyme system; Plasmodium falciparum; malaria; antimalarials.

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