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Acta Trop. 1990 Jan;47(1):11-21.

An ultrastructural study of the exoerythrocytic schizonts of Plasmodium cynomolgi and P. knowlesi in Macaca mulatta.

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  • 1Department of Pure and Applied Biology, Imperial College, South Kinsington, London, U.K.


Exoerythrocytic schizonts of Plasmodium cynomolgi and P. knowlesi were examined by electron microscopy in biopsy samples of primate livers. With maturity the parasitophorous vacuole membrane becomes highly sculptured by the addition of a discontinuous dense thickening, the distribution of which can be a distinguishing character between these two species. The parasitophorous vacuole membrane follows the contours of the parasite faithfully with a minimal surrounding vacuole. The marked destruction of the cytoplasm of the host hepatocyte by most of the parasites studied however gave the distinct, but erroneous, appearance of a large parasitophorous vacuole at the light microscope level. The mature parasite often exhibited a highly invaginated surface contour with the result that the cytoplasm of the host cell and parasite became intimately interdigitated, this interweaving is unlikely to be recognized in light microscopic studies.

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