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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

Print version ISSN 0074-0276On-line version ISSN 1678-8060

Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz vol.87  suppl.3 Rio de Janeiro  1992 

Antibodies in falciparum malaria: what matters most, quantity or quality?

Hasnaa Bouharoun-Tayoun1 

Pierre Druilhe1 

Institut Pasteur, Laboratoire de Parasitologie Medicale, Paris, France


In view of the recent demonstration that antibodies that are protective agains Plasmodium falciparum malaria may act in collaboration with blood monocytes, we have investigated the isotype content of sera from individuals with defined clinical states of resistance or susceptibility to malaria. Profound differences in the distribution of each Ig subclass and particulary in the ratio of cytophilic versus noncytophilic antibodies were found. In protected subjects, two cytophilic isotypes, IgG1 and IgG3 were found to predominate. In non-protected subjects, i.e. children and primary attack adults, three different situations were encountered: a) an imbalance in which IgG2, a non-cytophilic class, predominated (mostly seen in primary attacks); b) imbalance in which mostly IgM antibodies predominated (a frequent event in children) or c) less frequently, an overall low level of antimalarial antibodies. Of 33 non immune subjects studied all, except one, had one of the above defects. The function of total Ig presenting such an isotype imbalance was studied in vitro in Antibody-Dependent -Cellular-Inhibition assays. Not only did IgG from protected subjects cooperate efficiently with blood monocytes, whilst IgG from non-protected groups did not, but moreover the latter inhibit the in vitro effect of the former: in competition assays whole IgG from primary attack cases with increased IgG2 content, competed with IgG from immune adults, thus suggesting that non-protected subjects had antibodies to epitopes critical for protection, but that these antibodies are non functional.


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