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Trends Parasitol. 2003 Apr;19(4):188-93.

The paroxysm of Plasmodium vivax malaria.

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  • 1University of Colombo, Department of Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine, Kynsey Road, Colombo 8, Sri Lanka. nadira@cmb.ac.lk <nadira@cmb.ac.lk>


The paroxysms of Plasmodium vivax malaria are antiparasite responses that, although distressing to the human host, almost never impart serious acute pathology. Using plasma and blood cells from P. vivax patients, the cellular and noncellular mediators of these events have been studied ex vivo. The host response during a P. vivax paroxysm was found to involve T cells, monocytes and neutrophils, and the activity, among others, of the pyrogenic cytokines tumor necrosis factor alpha and interleukin 2 in addition to granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor. However, interferon gamma activity, associated with serious acute pathogenesis in other studies on malaria, was absent. Induction of the cytokines active during a P. vivax paroxysm depends upon the presence of parasite products, which are released into the plasma before the paroxysm. Chemical identification of these natural parasite products will be important for our understanding of pathogenesis and protection in malaria.

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