The suitability of liposomes as drug carriers in the treatment of drug-resistant rodent malaria was examined after covalently attaching F(ab')2 fragments of a mouse monoclonal antibody (MAb), MAb F10, raised against the host cell membranes isolated from the Plasmodium berghei-infected mouse erythrocytes, to the liposome surface. The antibody-bearing liposomes thus formed specifically recognized the P. berghei-infected mouse erythrocytes under both in vitro and in vivo conditions. No such specific binding of the liposomes with the infected cells was observed when MAb F10 was replaced by another mouse monoclonal antibody, MAb D2. Upon loading with the antimalarial drug chloroquine, the MAb F10-bearing liposomes effectively controlled not only the chloroquine-susceptible but also the chloroquine-resistant P. berghei infections in mice. The chloroquine delivered in these liposomes intravenously at a dosage of 5 mg/kg of body weight per day on days 4 and 6 postinfection completely cured the animals (75 to 90%) of chloroquine-resistant P. berghei infections. These results indicate that selective homing of chloroquine to malaria-infected erythrocytes may help to cure the chloroquine-resistant malarial infections with low doses of chloroquine.
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