PMID: 10221623Apr 30, 1999

Trichomonads, hydrogenosomes and drug resistance

International Journal for Parasitology
J Kulda


Trichomonas vaginalis and Tritrichomonas foetus are sexually transmitted pathogens of the genito-urinary tract of humans and cattle, respectively. These organisms are amitochondrial anaerobes possessing hydrogenosomes, double membrane-bound organelles involved in catabolic processes extending glycolysis. The oxidative decarboxylation of pyruvate in hydrogenosomes is coupled to ATP synthesis and linked to ferredoxin-mediated electron transport. This pathway is responsible for metabolic activation of 5-nitroimidazole drugs, such as metronidazole, used in chemotherapy of trichomoniasis. Prolonged cultivation of trichomonads under sublethal pressure of metronidazole results in development of drug resistance. In both pathogenic species the resistance develops in a multistep process involving a sequence of stages that differ in drug susceptibility and metabolic activities. Aerobic resistance, similar to that occurring in clinical isolates of T. vaginalis from treatment-refractory patients, appears as the earliest stage. The terminal stage is characterised by stable anaerobic resistance at which the parasites show very high levels of minimal lethal concentration for metronidazole under anaerobic conditions (approximately 1000 microg m...Continue Reading


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