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Parasitology

Pharmacology of anthelmintic resistance.


PMID 9051936

Abstract

Anthelmintic resistance has compromised the control of nematode parasites in several animal-based industries. Studies of resistance have not only improved our understanding of this phenomenon but also shed light on physiological systems of parasitic helminths. In addition, research on molecular aspects of anthelmintic resistance may provide selectable markers for use in future transfection studies with helminths. Several anthelmintics act on helminth neuromuscular systems. Drugs such as levamisole are cholinergic agonists and, based on pharmacological studies, levamisole-resistant nematodes appear to have altered acetylcholine receptors. It is likely that anticholinesterase anthelmintics share cross resistance with levamisole. Ivermectin appears to be a glutamate agonist. In vitro studies of ivermectin-resistant nematodes suggest that IVM receptors are located on pharyngeal and somatic muscle. The free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans may provide a model for anthelmintic resistance. It has been useful in cloning drug receptors from parasites but differences between its life history and habitat compared with parasitic nematodes may limit its usefulness for studying resistance in these parasites.

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