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Exp Parasitol. 1994 Jun;78(4):371-6.

A nonhuman primate model for human cerebral malaria: rhesus monkeys experimentally infected with Plasmodium fragile.

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  • 1Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106.


We studied the brains of rhesus monkeys infected with the primate malaria parasite Plasmodium fragile. Electron microscopy showed that, in these animals, erythrocytes infected with P. fragile undergo sequestration and that parasitized red blood cells adhere to endothelial cells in the cerebral microvessels by means of knobs. Cerebral microvessels with sequestered parasitized red blood cells were shown by immunohistochemical analysis to possess the platelet glycoprotein CD36, thrombospondin, and intracellular adhesion molecule-1. The formation of rosettes also was observed in the cerebral microvessels. In a fashion similar to human cerebral malaria, P. fragile produced neurological symptoms in the animals. Thus, rhesus monkeys infected with P. fragile, like those monkeys infected with Plasmodium coatneyi, can be used as a primate model to study human cerebral malaria.

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