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Platelet-Mediated Clumping of Plasmodium Falciparum-Infected Erythrocytes is a Common Adhesive Phenotype and is Associated with Severe Malaria
Arnab Pain, David J. P. Ferguson, Oscar Kai, Britta C. Urban, Brett Lowe, Kevin Marsh and David J. Roberts
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 98, No. 4 (Feb. 13, 2001), pp. 1805-1810
Published by: National Academy of Sciences
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3054957
Page Count: 6
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Sequestration of malaria-infected erythrocytes in the peripheral circulation has been associated with the virulence of Plasmodium falciparum. Defining the adhesive phenotypes of infected erythrocytes may therefore help us to understand how severe disease is caused and how to prevent or treat it. We have previously shown that malaria-infected erythrocytes may form apparent autoagglutinates of infected erythrocytes. Here we show that such autoagglutination of a laboratory line of P. falciparum is mediated by platelets and that the formation of clumps of infected erythrocytes and platelets requires expression of the platelet surface glycoprotein CD36. Platelet-dependent clumping is a distinct adhesive phenotype, expressed by some but not all CD36-binding parasite lines, and is common in field isolates of P. falciparum. Finally, we have established that platelet-mediated clumping is strongly associated with severe malaria. Precise definition of the molecular basis of this intriguing adhesive phenotype may help to elucidate the complex pathophysiology of malaria.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America © 2001 National Academy of Sciences