Volume 9 Supplement 2
Variant surface antigens in cerebral malaria: distinct from others and similar to each other?
© Aubouy et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2010
Published: 20 October 2010
Immunological protection against Plasmodium falciparum blood stages is mainly antibody mediated [1, 2]. Variant surface antigens (VSA) expressed on the surface of P. falciparum-infected red blood cells constitute a key for parasite sequestration and immune evasion . In distinct malaria clinical presentations, as placental malaria, specific antibody response against VSA provides protection .
In the current study, we investigated in distinct clinical groups of malaria patients, the antibody response specifically directed against VSA expressed by parasites isolated from a given clinical presentation, and particularly isolates obtained from cerebral malaria (CM) patients. Plasma and isolates were obtained from four groups of Beninese subjects: healthy adults (HA, n = 34), patients presenting uncomplicated malaria (UM, n = 62), cerebral malaria (CM, n = 41), or pregnancy-associated malaria (PAM, n = 24). Isolates were tested for their clonality by msp1 and msp2 genotyping. The reactivity of plasma samples from each clinical group was measured by flow cytometry against parasites isolated from individuals from each clinical group.
The existence of shared VSACM epitopes was shown but does not necessarily involve prevalent epitopes. Prevalence is more probably due to a fine balance between transmission intensity, antibody repertoire and environmental factors.
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