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Am J Pathol. 2001 Aug;159(2):733-42.

Role of CD40-CVD40L in mouse severe malaria.

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Department of Pathology, University of Geneva, 1 rue M. Servet, CMU, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland.


We explored the role of CD40-CD40L (CD154) in the severe malaria elicited by Plasmodium berghei anka infection in mice. Mortality was >90% by day 8 after infection in +/+ mice, but markedly decreased in CD40-/- or in CD40L-/- mice, as well as in +/+ mice treated with anti-CD40L monoclonal antibody. Parasitemia was similar in the different conditions. Breakdown of the blood-brain barrier was evident in infected +/+, but not in CD40-/- mice. Thrombocytopenia was less severe in CD40-/- mice than in the +/+ controls. Sequestration of macrophages in brain venules and alveolar capillaries was reduced in CD40-/- or in CD40L-/- mice, whereas sequestration of parasitized red blood cells or polymorphonuclear leukocytes in alveolar capillaries was CD40-CD40L-independent. CD40 mRNA was increased in the brain and lung of infected mice whereas CD40L was increased in the lung. Tumor necrosis factor plasma levels were similarly increased in infected +/+ or CD40-/- mice. Expression of CD54 and its mRNA levels in the brain were moderately decreased in CD40-deficient mice. Thus the mortality associated with severe malaria requires CD40-CD40L interaction that contributes to the breakdown of the blood-brain barrier, macrophage sequestration, and platelet consumption.

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