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Lancet Infect Dis. 2002 Aug;2(8):472-8.

The immune response to Plasmodium falciparum malaria.

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  • 1Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Catania, Italy. lucmal@mbox.unict.it

Abstract

Malaria is still a major cause of severe disease which is responsible for millions of deaths, mostly in children under 5 years old, in tropical countries, especially sub-Saharan Africa. Complications of severe anaemia and cerebral malaria are thought to be the major cause of morbidity and mortality but recent evidence suggests that the host's immunological response could also contribute to the pathophysiology of the disease in human beings. Intensive studies of the immune response to malaria parasites in human beings have provided a wealth of information about the cells and cytokines implicated in the pathophysiology of survival and fatal outcome in severe infections. This review focuses on the pivotal role of macrophages and other important cellular effectors, molecules, and cytokines involved in the activation of the immune response at the different stages of human falciparum malaria. Our understanding of the putative mechanisms by which cytokines may mediate beneficial and harmful effects, through activation of phagocytic cells, could help to develop new treatment strategies, regardless of the emergence of parasite multidrug resistance.

PMID:
12150846
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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