Aluru S, Hide M, Michel G, Bañuls AL, Marty P, Pomares C
Microsatellite markers have been used for Leishmania genetic studies worldwide, giving useful insight into leishmaniasis epidemiology. Understanding the geographic distribution, dynamics of Leishmania populations, and disease epidemiology improved markedly with this tool. In endemic foci, the origins of antimony-resistant strains and multidrug treatment failures were explored with multilocus microsatellite typing (MLMT). High genetic variability was detected but no association between parasite genotypes and drug resistance was established. An association between MLMT profiles and clinical disease manifestations was highlighted in only three studies and this data needs further confirmation. At the individual level, MLMT provided information on relapse and reinfection when multiple leishmaniasis episodes occurred. This information could improve knowledge of epidemiology and guide therapeutic choices for active chronic visceral leishmaniasis, the disease form in some HIV-positive patients.