Send to

Choose Destination
Cell Immunol. 2001 Mar 15;208(2):73-9.

Influence of tumor necrosis factor-alpha on the ability of monocytes and lymphocytes to destroy intraerythrocytic Plasmodium falciparum in vitro.

Author information

Laboratório de Imunologia Celular, Patologia, Clínica Médica, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Brasília, Brasília, DF, 70.910-900, Brazil.


It has been shown that administration of TNF-alpha causes an increase of survival of plasmodium-infected mice. However, this anti-parasitic effect cannot be reproduced in vitro upon direct incubation of the cytokine with the parasite. This suggests that TNF-alpha may act through modulation of some plasmodicidal mechanism not yet clarified. We evaluated the effect of exogenous TNF-alpha on the phagocytosis of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes by monocytes and its influence on the ability of monocytes and lymphocytes to inhibit parasite growth. The capacity of endogenous TNF-alpha to influence the ability of monocytes to inhibit the parasite was also verified. We found that addition of 33 ng TNF-alpha/mL to cultures of human monocytes and P. falciparum-infected erythrocytes increased the phagocytic index from 3.8 to 7.8 in the presence of serum containing P. falciparum antibody. TNF-alpha increased the capacity of monocyte plus lymphocyte to inhibit parasite growth by about 3 times at 0.5 and 5 ng/mL. Sera from severely ill P. falciparum-infected individuals inhibited the parasite growth, but addition of anti-TNF-alpha antibody was unable to modify this inhibition. These data show that TNF-alpha can increase the phagocytic capacity. This was probably due to an increased expression of Fc receptors on monocytes or to the modulation of Fc receptor signaling pathways by signals originating from the binding of TNF-alpha to its receptors. TNF-alpha also acted on lymphocytes plus monocytes by increasing the inhibition of P. falciparum by a mechanism not related to phagocytosis. These findings suggest that TNF-alpha has a pleiotropic anti-malaria effect and that this protective effect depends on the interplay of different factors, such as monocytes/macrophages, lymphocytes, and antibodies, in addition to other cells and molecules.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center