The severity of malarial anaemia in Plasmodium chabaudi infections of BALB/c mice is determined independently of the number of circulating parasites
Lamb, T. J. and Langhorne, J. (2008) The severity of malarial anaemia in Plasmodium chabaudi infections of BALB/c mice is determined independently of the number of circulating parasites. Malaria Journal, 7. p. 9. ISSN 1475-2875
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1186/1475-2875-7-68
Background: Severe malarial anaemia is a major complication of malaria infection and is multifactorial resulting from loss of circulating red blood cells (RBCs) from parasite replication, as well as immune-mediated mechanisms. An understanding of the causes of severe malarial anaemia is necessary to develop and implement new therapeutic strategies to tackle this syndrome of malaria infection. Methods: Using analysis of variance, this work investigated whether parasite-destruction of RBCs always accounts for the severity of malarial anaemia during infections of the rodent malaria model Plasmodium chabaudi in mice of a BALB/c background. Differences in anaemia between two different clones of P. chabaudi were also examined. Results: Circulating parasite numbers were not correlated with the severity of anaemia in either BALB/c mice or under more severe conditions of anaemia in BALB/c RAG2 deficient mice (lacking T and B cells). Mice infected with P. chabaudi clone CB suffered more severe anaemia than mice infected with clone AS, but this was not correlated with the number of parasites in the circulation. Instead, the peak percentage of parasitized RBCs was higher in CB-infected animals than in AS-infected animals, and was correlated with the severity of anaemia, suggesting that the availability of uninfected RBCs was impaired in CB-infected animals. Conclusion: This work shows that parasite numbers are a more relevant measure of parasite levels in P. chabaudi infection than % parasitaemia, a measure that does not take anaemia into account. The lack of correlation between parasite numbers and the drop in circulating RBCs in this experimental model of malaria support a role for the host response in the impairment or destruction of uninfected RBC in P. chabaudi infections, and thus development of acute anaemia in this malaria model.
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