Send to

Choose Destination
J Protozool. 1978 Nov;25(4):443-52.

Fine structure of human malaria in vitro.


The erythrocytic cycle of the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium, falciparum, was examined by electron microscopy. Three strains of parasites maintained in continuous culture in human erythrocytes were compared with in vivo infections in Aotus monkeys. The ultrastructure of P. falciparum is not altered by continuous cultivation in vitro. Mitochondria contain DNA-like filaments and some cristae at all stages of the erythrocytic life cycle. The Golgi apparatus is prominent at the schizont stage and may be involved in the formation of rhoptries. In culture, knob-like protrusions first appear on the surface of trophozoite-infected erythrocytes. The time of appearance of knobs on cells in vitro correlates with the life cycle stage of parasites which are sequestered from the peripheral circulation in vivo. Knob material of older parasites coalesces and forms extensions from the erythrocyte surface. Some of this material is sloughed from the host cell surface. The parasitophorous vacuole membrane breaks down in erythrocytes containing mature merozoites both in vitro and in vivo. Merozoite structure is similar to that of P. knowlesi. The immature gametocytes in culture have no knobs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center