Cerebral malaria (CM) is a devastating form of Plasmodium falciparum malaria, in which adherence and sequestration of infected red blood cells in cerebral blood vessels play a major role. In order to determine whether a distinct parasite phenotype favours the development of this severe complication, P. falciparum isolates from Gabonese children suffering from CM or uncomplicated malaria (UM) were analysed for their binding phenotypes and their recognition in flow cytometry. CM isolates exhibited the ability to form rosettes and to bind ICAM-1, in line with previous studies correlating these phenotypes with CM disease pathology. CM isolates were more reactive with plasma from our cohort than UM parasites. This observation, together with the finding that some CM isolates were highly correlated with each other in their immunoreactivities, confirms that common parasites bearing conserved epitopes, which are capable of inducing cross-reactive antibodies, can cause CM in children.
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The experiments performed here comply with the current laws of the country. This work received financial support from the European Commission (QLK2-CT-1999-01293, QLK2-CT-2002-01197). We thank the staff at the Medical Research Unit and the Paediatrics Ward of the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné for their help and co-operation. We are also grateful to Dr. Philippe Deloron for comments.
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Lindenthal, C., Kremsner, P.G. & Klinkert, M. Commonly recognised Plasmodium falciparum parasites cause cerebral malaria. Parasitol Res 91, 363–368 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00436-003-0975-6
- Severe Malaria
- Cerebral Malaria
- Mean Fluorescent Intensity
- Uncomplicated Malaria