Abstract in English:Preliminary results are presented from this study which indicate that 84.8 of pregnant women present at first antenatal visit with anemia (Hb 11g/dl) an 8.7 of their infants (n = 230) have a hemoglobin at birth below 14g/dl. There is an association between pregnancy anemia and malaria. A case control study in pregnant women and an infant cohort study to 18 months of age, are employed to study the cause and effects of anemia and malaria on women and their infants health.
Abstract in English:Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and human sera from gametocyte carriers were applied in the bio-assay to test for their transmission-blocking capacity. Competition ELISA's have been developed for the detection of natural transmission blocking antibodies. Approximately 55 of the sera blocking in the bio-assay gave positive results in these competition ELISA's.
Abstract in English:Sera from 29 individuals residing in a malaria-endemic region of Colombia were evaluated by an inhibition assay for their capacity to retard the growth of Plasmodium falciparum in vitro. The inhibitory activity was found to be independent of antibody activity. Furthermore, the degree of inhibition of parasite development was variable, depending on the parasite isolate used for the assay and the season of malaria transmission. We selected sera with high inhibitory activity and carried out partial analytical characterization by anion exchange fast protein liquid chromatography (FPLC) to identify the chemical nature of the inhibitory factor(s). The results suggested that the in vitro inhibitory activity might result from the additive effect of different molecules. It appears that these molecules could be non-specifically induced by stimulation of the immune system, they seem to play a role in the immunity to malaria.
Abstract in English:In ongoing studies on experimental transmission of Plasmodium falciparum in the city of Yaounde gametocyte carriers are daily being identified among dispensary patients with malaria-like complaints. This species comprises 93 of all parasitemias and because of the selection criteria most patients have it as a recent infection. 17 of all P. falciparum-positives carry detectable gametocytes with little difference between youngsters and adults. Blood of adult carriers is taken and infection of Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes is attempted by membrane feeding; the establishment of infection is judged by the presence of oocysts.
Abstract in English:This review stresses the importance of studies that will provide a basic understanding of the pathology of parasite-infected vector insects. This knowledge should be a vital component of the very focussed initiatives currently being funded in the areas of vector control. Vector fecundity reduction is discussed as an example of such pathology. Underlying mechanisms are being investigated in a model system, Hymenolepis diminuta-infected Tenebrio molitor and in Onchocerca-infected blackflies and Plasmodium-infected Anopheles stephensi. In all cases, host vitellogenesis is disrupted by the parasite and, in the tapeworm/beetle model, interaction between the parasite and the endocrine control of the insect's reproductive physiology has been demonstrated.
Abstract in English:Previous studies of subtelomeric regions in Plasmodium berghei led to the identification of subtelomeric repeats (2.3kb long) present in a variable number at many chromosomal ends. Both loss and increase in 2.3kb-repeat copy number are involved in chromosome-size polymorphisms. Subtelomeric losses leading to chromosome-size polymorphisms have been described by several authors in P.falciparum where the structure of subtelomeric regions is not known in detail. We therefore undertook their characterisation, by means of chromosome walking and jumping techniques, starting from the telomere-flanking sequence present in pPftel.1, the P.falciparum telomeric clone described by Vernick and McCutchan (1988). The results indicate that at least 20 (out of 28) chromosomal ends in P.falciparum 3D7 chromosomes share a subtelomeric region, about 40kb long, covering (but not limited to) the Rep20 region. Non repetitive, AT-rich portions flanking the Rep20 region on both sides are also conserved at most chromosomal ends.
Abstract in English:Previous studies were focussed on the attempt to correlate observable variations in the size of Plasmodium berghei chromosomes with the loss of ability to produce viable gametocytes. A temporal coincidence between the appearance of a subtelomeric deletion on P. berghei chromosome 5 and the loss of the ability to produce viable gametocytes was observed in a clone (HPE) directly derived from the high gametocyte-producer clone 8417 during mechanical passages. Interestingly enough, three P. berghei sexual-specific genes have already been mapped on internal fragments of this chromosome. A novel gene, clone 150, isolated from a genomic library of clone 8417 using a probe enriched for sexual-specific transcripts, maps on chromosome 5 within 100kb from the telomere. Subtelomeric deletions of chromosome 5 affecting two non-producer clones involve part of the transcribed region of this gene.
Abstract in English:The 21kD ookinete antigen of Plasmodium berghei (Pbs 21) has been shown to elicit an effective and long lasting transmission blocking immune response in mice. Having cloned and sequenced this antigen (Paton et al. 1993) the sequence was compared to the genes of the same family previously identified in P. falciparum, P. gallinaceum (Kaslow et al. 1989) and P. reichenowi (Lal et al. 1990). Four conserved areas were identified in this comparison, to which degenerate oligonucleotides were designed. PCR amplification and screening of genomic libraries was then carried out using these oligonucleotides. The P. yoelii gene was successfully cloned and a number of novel P. vivax genes identified but the P. vivax homologue of Pbs21 remains elusive.
Abstract in English:Numerous proteinase activities have been shown to be essential for the survival of Plasmodium falciparum. One approach to antimalarial chemotherapy, would be to block specifically one or several of these activities, by using compounds structurally analogous to the substrates of these proteinases. Such a strategy requires a detailed knowledge of the active site of the proteinase, in order to identify the best substrate for the proteinase. Aiming at developing such a strategy, two proteinases previously identified in our laboratory, were chosen for further characterization of their molecular structure and properties: the merozoite proteinase for erythrocytic invasion (MPEI), involved in the erythrocyte invasion by the merozoites, and the Pf37 proteinase, which hydrolyses human spectrin in vitro.
Abstract in English:The most unique characteristic of a parasite when it is in its normal host is the ability to make itself tolerated, which clearly indicates that it has sophisticated means to ensure the neutrality of its host. This is true also in the case of Plasmodium falciparum, since after numerous malaria attacks an equilibrium is reached with a chronic stage of infection, characterized by a relatively low parasitemia, and low or no disease (Sergent & Parrot 1935). We shall briefly review the main characteristics of this state of "premunition", and present data suggesting that the underlying mechanisms of defense rely on the cooperation between cell and antibodies, leading to an antibody dependent cellular inhibition of the intra-erythrocytic growth of the parasite.
Abstract in English:A preliminary baseline epidemiological malaria survey was conducted in the village of Punta Soldado, Colombia. Parasite prevalence and density as well as serological data were obtained from 151 asymptomatic children and adults. Fifty individuals were infected with Plasmodium falciparum. The mean parasite density was 184 parasites/mm3. Greater than 90 of the sample population were P. falciparum antibody positive as detected by the indirect immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT). The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was used to detect antibodies against the major merozoite surface protein (MSP-1) of P. falciparum. In this population, anti-MSP-1 antibody concentration is acquired in an age dependent manner with equal immunogenicity to both the N- and C-terminal regions of the molecule. Infection at the time of sampling was associated with a higher anti-MSP-1 antibody concentration than that found in non-infected individuals. Further studies are planned to assess the role of immune and non-immune factors in limiting the number of cases of severe malaria seen in this population.
Abstract in English:The apical membrane antigen (AMA-1) family of malaria merozoite proteins is characterised by a high degree of inter-species conservation. Evidence that the protein (PK66/AMA-1) from the simian parasite Plasmodium knowlesi was protective in rhesus monkeys suggested that the 83kDa P. falciparum equivalent (PF83/AMA-1) should be investigated for protective effects in humans. Here we briefly review pertinent comparative data, and describe the use of an eukaryotic full length recombinant PF83/AMA-1 molecule to develop a sensitive ELISA for the determination of serological responses in endemic populations. The assay has revealed surprisingly high levels of humoral response to this quantitatively minor antigen. We also show that PK66/AMA-1 inhibitory mAb's are active against merozoites subsequent to release from schizont-infected red cells, further implicating AMA-1 molecules in red cell invasion.
Abstract in English:Multiple antigen peptide systems (MAPs) allow the incorporation of various epitopes in to a single synthetic peptide immunogen. We have characterized the immune response of BALB/c mice to a series of MAPs assembled with different B and T cell epitopes derived from the Plasmodium vivax circumsporozoite (CS) protein. A B-cell epitope from the central repeat domain and two T-cell epitopes from the amino and carboxyl flanking regions were used to assembled eight different MAPs. An additional universal T cell epitope (ptt-30) from tetanus toxin protein was included. Immunogenicity in terms of antibody responses and in vitro T lymphocyte proliferation was evaluated. MAPs containing B and T cell epitopes induced high titers of anti-peptides antibodies, which recognized the native protein on sporozoites as determined by IFAT. The antibody specificity was also determined by a competitive inhibition assay with different MAPs. A MAP containing the B cell epitope (p11) and the universal epitope ptt-30 together with another composed of p11 and the promiscuous T cell epitope (p25) proved to be the most immunogenic. The strong antibody response and specificity for the cognate protein indicates that further studies designed to assess the potential of these proteins as human malaria vaccine candidates are warranted.
Abstract in English:We report the identification of a 48kDa antigen targeted by antibodies which inhibit Plasmodium falciparum in vitro growth by cooperation with blood monocytes in an ADCI assay correlated to the naturally acquired protection. This protein is located on the surface of the merozoite stage of P. falciparum, and is detectable in all isolates tested. Epidemiological studies demonstrated that peptides derived from the amino acid sequence of MSP-3 contain potent B and T-cell epitopes recognized by a majority of individuals living in endemic areas. Moreover human antibodies either purified on the recombinant protein, or on the synthetic peptide MSP-3b, as well as antibodies raised in mice, were all found to promote parasite killing mediated by monocytes.
Abstract in English:The systematic screening of more than 250 molecules against Plasmodium falciparum in vitro has previously shown that interfering with phospholipid metabolism is lethal to the malaria parasite. These compounds act by impairing choline transport in infected erythrocytes, resulting in phosphatidylcholine de novo biosynthesis inhibition. A thorough study was carried out with the leader compound G25, whose in vitro IC50 is 0.6 nM. It was very specific to mature parasites (trophozoïtes) as determined in vitro with P. falciparum and in vivo with P. chabaudi -infected mice. This specificity corresponds to the most intense phase of phospholipid biosynthesis activity during the parasite cycle, thus corroborating the mechanism of action. The in vivo antimalarial activity (ED50) against P. chabaudi was 0.03 mg/kg, and a similar sensitivity was obtained with P. vinckei petteri, when the drug was intraperitoneally administered in a 4 day suppressive test. In contrast, P. berghei was revealed as less sensitive (3- to 20-fold, depending on the P. berghei-strain). This difference in activity could result either from the degree of synchronism of every strain, their invasion preference for mature or immature red blood cells or from an intrinsically lower sensitivity of the P. berghei strain to G25. Irrespective of the mode of administration, G25 had the same therapeutic index (lethal dose 50 (LD50)/ED50) but the dose to obtain antimalarial activity after oral treatment was 100-fold higher than after intraperitoneal (or subcutaneous) administration. This must be related to the low intestinal absorption of these kind of compounds. G25 succeeded to completely inhibiting parasitemia as high as 11.2% without any decrease in its therapeutic index when administered subcutaneously twice a day for at least 8 consecutive days to P. chabaudi -infected-rodent model. Transition to human preclinical investigations now requires a synthesis of molecules which would permit oral absorption.
Abstract in English:We have developed a model for designing antimalarial drugs based on interference with an essential metabolism developed by Plasmodium during its intraerythrocytic cycle, phospholipid (PL) metabolism. The most promising drug interference is choline transporter blockage, which provides Plasmodium with a supply of precursor for synthesis of phosphatidylcholine (PC), the major PL of infected erythrocytes. Choline entry is a limiting step in this metabolic pathway and occurs by a facilitated-diffusion system involving an asymmetric carrier operating according to a cyclic model. Choline transport in the erythrocytes is not sodium dependent nor stereospecific as demonstrated using stereoisomers of alpha and beta methylcholine. These last two characteristics along with distinct effects of nitrogen substitution on transport rate demonstrate that choline transport in the infected erythrocyte possesses characteristics quite distinct from that of the nervous system. This indicates a possible discrimination between the antimalarial activity (inhibition of choline transport in the infected erythrocyte) and a possible toxic effect through inhibition of choline entry in synaptosomes. Apart from the de novo pathway of choline, PC can be synthesized by N-methylation from phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). There is a de novo pathway for PE biosynthesis from ethanolamine in infected cells but phosphatidylserine (PS) decarboxylation also occurs. In addition, PE can be directly and abundantly synthesized from serine decarboxylation into ethanolamine, a pathway which is absent from the host. The variety of the pathways that exist for the biosynthesis of one given PL led us to investigate whether an equilibrium can occur between all PL metabolic pathways. Indeed, if alternative (compensative) pathway(s) can operate after blockage of the de novo PC biosynthesis pathway this would indicate a potential mechanism for resistance acquisition. Up until now, there is no evidence of such a compensative process occurring in Plasmodium-infected erythrocytes under physiological conditions. Besides, the discovery of a highly parasite-specific pathway (serine decarboxylation and the presence of PS synthase) constitutes a very attractive and promising target, which could be attacked if resistances are built up against choline analogs. Indeed, potential inhibitions of the serine decarboxylase pathway could be very useful in acting instead of, or in surgery with, choline analogs.
Abstract in English:The intraerythrocytic malarial parasite is involved in an extremely intensive anabolic activity while it resides in its metabolically quiescent host cell. The necessary fast uptake of nutrients and the discharge of waste product, are guaranteed by parasite-induced alterations of the constitutive transporters of the host cell and the production of new parallel pathways. The membrane of the host cell thus becomes permeable to phospholipids, purine bases and nucleosides, small non-electrolytes, anions and cations. When the new pathways are quantitatively unimportant, classical inhibitors of native transporters can be used to inhibit parasite growth. Several compounds were found to effectively inhibit the new pathways and consequently, parasite growth. The pathways have also been used to introduce cytotoxic agents. The parasitophorous membrane consists of channels which are highly permeable to small solutes and display no ion selectivity. Transport of some cations and anions across the parasite membrane is rapid and insensitive to classical inhibitors, and in some cases it is mediated by specific antiporters which respond to their respective inhibitors. Macromolecules have been shown to reach the parasitophorous space through a duct contiguous with the host cell membrane, and subsequently to be endocytosed at the parasite membrane. The simultaneous presence of the parasitophorous membrane channels and the duct, however, is incompatible with experimental evidences. No specific inhibitors were found as yet that would efficiently inhibit transport through the channels or the duct.
Abstract in English:Chimpanzees are being used in the study of immune response to Plasmodium falciparum malaria pre-erythrocytic stages (MPES). Responses induced by immunisation with recombinant/synthetic antigens and by irradiated sporozoites are being evaluated in a model system that is phylogenetically close to humans and that is amenable to limited manipulation not possible in humans. The value of chimpanzees for the in-depth study of immunological mechanisms at work in MPES-induced protection are discussed. A total number of 7 chimpanzees have been used to evaluate the immune response to recombinant antigens, and 5 have been challenged with large numbers of sporozoites, followed by surgical liver-wedge resection, in order to generate infected liver tissue for histological and immunological studies. As a complementary model, SCID mice carrying live, transplanted human and primate hepatocytes have been inoculated with sporozoites and infection of transplanted cells has been monitored by histological and immunological methods. In ongoing experiments chimpanzees are being immunised with MPES-derived lipopeptides that have been shown to overcome MHC restriction in mice, and with irradiated sporozoites.
Abstract in English:The sporogonic cycle of Plasmodium vivax was established and maintained under laboratory conditions in two different strains of Anopheles albimanus mosquitoes using as a parasite source blood from human patients or from Aotus monkeys infected with the VCC-2 P.vivax colombian isolate. Both the Tecojate strain isolate from Guatemala and the Cartagena strain from the colombian Pacific coast were susceptible to infections with P.vivax. A higher percentage of Cartagena mosquitoes was infected per trial, however the Tecojate strain developed higher sporozoite loads. Intravenous inoculation of Aotus monkeys with sporozoites obtained from both anopheline strains resulted in successful blood infections. Animals infected with sporozoites from the Tecojate strain presented a patent period of 21-32 days whereas parasitemia appeared between days 19-53 in monkeys infected with sporozites from Cartagena strain.