The effects of serum lipids on the in vitro activity of lumefantrine and atovaquone against Plasmodium falciparum
Chotivanich K., Mungthin M., Ruengweerayuth R., Udomsangpetch R., Dondorp AM., Singhasivanon P., Pukrittayakamee S., White NJ.
Abstract Background Lumefantrine and atovaquone are highly lipophilic anti-malarial drugs. As a consequence absorption is increased when the drugs are taken together with a fatty meal, but the free fraction of active drug decreases in the presence of triglyceride-rich plasma lipoproteins. In this study, the consequences of lipidaemia on anti-malarial drug efficacy were assessed in vitro. Methods Serum was obtained from non-immune volunteers under fasting conditions and after ingestion of a high fat meal and used in standard Plasmodium falciparum in-vitro susceptibility assays. Anti-malarial drugs, including lumefantrine, atovaquone and chloroquine in five-fold dilutions (range 0.05 ng/ml – 1 ug/mL) were diluted in culture medium supplemented with fasting or post-prandial 10% donor serum. The in-vitro drug susceptibility of parasite isolates was determined using the 3H-hypoxanthine uptake inhibition method and expressed as the concentration which gave 50% inhibition of hypoxanthine uptake (IC50). Results Doubling plasma triglyceride concentrations (from 160 mg/dL to 320 mg/dL), resulted in an approximate doubling of the IC50 for lumefantrine (191 ng/mL to 465 ng/mL, P < 0.01) and a 20-fold increase in the IC50 for atovaquone (0.5 ng/mL to 12 ng/ml; P < 0.01). In contrast, susceptibility to the hydrophilic anti-malarial chloroquine did not change in relation to triglyceride content of the medium. Conclusions Lipidaemia reduces the anti-malarial activity of lipophilic anti-malarial drugs. This is an important confounder in laboratory in vitro testing and it could have therapeutic relevance.