Archives of Dermatological Research

, Volume 311, Issue 1, pp 9–17 | Cite as

Gene expression analysis of antimony resistance in Leishmania tropica using quantitative real-time PCR focused on genes involved in trypanothione metabolism and drug transport

  • Mehdi Mohebali
  • Elham KazemiradEmail author
  • Homa Hajjaran
  • Elaheh Kazemirad
  • Mohammad Ali Oshaghi
  • Reza Raoofian
  • Aref Teimouri
Original Paper


Pentavalent antimonials remain the treatment of choice for all the clinical forms of leishmaniasis. The increasing rates of antimony resistance are becoming a serious health problem in treatment of anthroponotic cutaneous leishmaniasis (ACL). Accordingly, unraveling molecular markers is crucial for improving medication strategies and monitoring of drug-resistant parasites. Different studies have suggested the importance of genes involved in trypanothione metabolism and drug transport. In this regard, present study was designed to investigate the RNA expression level of five genes including γ-GCS, ODC, TRYR (involved in trypanothione metabolism), AQP1 (acts in drug uptake) and MRPA (involved in sequestration of drug) in sensitive and resistant Leishmania tropica isolates. Seven antimony-resistant and seven antimony-sensitive L. tropica clinical isolates were collected from ACL patients. Drug sensitivity test was performed on the samples as well as reference strains; afterwards, gene expression analysis was performed on clinical isolates by quantitative real-time PCR. The results revealed that the average expression level of AQP1 gene was decreased (0.47-fold) in resistant isolates compared to sensitive ones whereas MRPA (2.45), γ-GCS (2.1) and TRYR (1.97) was upregulated in resistant isolates. The average expression of ODC (1.24-fold) gene was not different significantly between sensitive and resistant isolates. Our findings suggest that AQP1, MRPA, GSH1 and TRYR can be considered as potential molecular markers for screening of antimony resistance in some L. tropica clinical isolates.


Natural antimony resistance Leishmania tropica Potential molecular marker Gene expression Quantitative real-time PCR 



The authors would like to express their gratitude to Dr. S.R. Naddaf, Mrs. S. Charedar, Dr. M. Saffari and Dr. B. Akhoondi for their kind cooperation.


This research has been supported by Tehran University of Medical Sciences and health Services Grant no. 93-02-27-25242.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

The study was approved by the Ethics Research Committee of the School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Parasitology and Mycology, School of Public HealthTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of ParasitologyPasteur Institute of IranTehranIran
  3. 3.Department of Medical Entomology and Vector Control, School of Public HealthTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  4. 4.Legal Medicine Research CenterLegal Medicine OrganizationTehranIran

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