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Research article2023Peer reviewedOpen access

The presence and relative frequency detection of the levamisole-resistance-associated S168T substitution in hco-acr-8 in Haemonchus contortus

Baltrusis, Paulius; Halvarsson, Peter; Charvet, Claude L.; Hoglund, Johan


Parasitic sheep nematodes, among which Haemonchus contortus is often considered to be the most clinically important, exact a significant toll on the animals, not least because of their capacity to evolve drug resistance. Despite decades of research, our understanding of the mechanism of resistance to compounds such as levamisole is fairly limited, which therefore constrains our ability to develop sensitive and efficient molecular diagnostic tools for rapid and accurate resistance detection in field settings. Herein, we investigated the presence and frequency of the newly reported, levamisole-resistance-associated, mutation, yielding a S168T substitution in exon 4 of hco-acr-8, in six different phenotypically described isolates (three susceptible and three resistant), three Swedish field isolates and eight larvae culture samples, the latter two of which originated on farms where le-vamisole showed complete parasite elimination. For this purpose, we created both an allele-specific and droplet digital PCR approaches and found the mutated allele to be present only in the Kokstad isolate, whereas the other five as well as both the Swedish isolates and larvae cultures displayed only the non-mutated, serine-encoding, allele. While the finding of only the non-mutated allele in the phenotypically susceptible and Swedish isolate and larvae culture samples seemed sensible, we speculate that for the other two phenotypically resistant isolates, different (perhaps secondary) variants are responsible for conferring the resistance to levamisole phenotype, given the polygenic nature of levamisole resistance. All in all, despite the limited number of samples tested here, the mutation causing the S168T substitution in hco-acr-8 represents a plausible levamisole resistance-associated variant in, at least, some isolates of H. contortus.


S168T; Levamisole resistance; Anthelmintic resistance; Droplet digital PCR; Allele-specific PCR; acr8

Published in

International Journal for Parasitology: Drugs and Drug Resistance
2023, Volume: 21, pages: 91-95 Publisher: ELSEVIER SCI LTD