Prevalence of Dihydrofolate reductase gene mutations in Plasmodium falciparum isolate from pregnant women in Nigeria

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Olusola Ojurongbe *
Bukola D. Tijani
Adegboyega A. Fawole
Oluwaseyi A. Adeyeba
Juergen F. Kun
(*) Corresponding Author:
Olusola Ojurongbe |


We assessed the prevalence of Plasmodium falciparum and the frequency of the dhfr triple mutation that is associated with antifolate drug resistance among P. falciparumisolates obtained from pregnant women in Ilorin, Nigeria. The study included 179 women in the second and third trimester of pregnancy who have been exposed to intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) with sulfadoxinepyrimethamine. Thick and thin blood films and PCR were used for malaria parasite detection. Blood group and hemoglobin concentration were also determined. Mutations in P. falciparum dhfr were analyzed by sequencing DNA obtained from blood spots on filter paper. Prevalence of P. falciparum in the population (PCR corrected) was 44.1% (79/179) with 66.7% and 33.3% in the second and third trimester, respectively. Primigravide (51.3%) were more infected than multigravide (48.7%) but the difference was not statistically significant. Women in blood group A had the highest P. falciparum malaria infection (30.8%). The mean hemoglobin concentration was lower among those infected with malaria parasite. Also, more women with the malaria parasite (38.4%) had anemia compare to those without (21.4%). The prevalence of the P. falciparum dhfr mutant alleles was 64.1%, 61.5%, 38.5%, and 12.8% for I51, R59, N108 and T108, respectively. None of the samples had the L164 mutation. The combined triple dhfr mutation (51 + 59 + 108) in the population was 17.9% (7 of 39). Also, the prevalence of the triple mutant alleles was not significantly associated to the number of doses of SP taken by the women. These findings highlight the need for a regular assessment of IPTp/SP efficacy, and evaluation of possible alternative drugs.

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