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J Infect Dis. 2003 Apr 15;187(8):1283-90. Epub 2003 Apr 2.

Plasmodium falciparum--infected erythrocyte adhesion induces caspase activation and apoptosis in human endothelial cells.

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INSERM U511, Immunobiologie Cellulaire et Moléculaire des Infections Parasitaires, Centre Hospitalier-Universitaire Pitié-Salpêtrière, Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, France.


During Plasmodium falciparum infection leading to cerebral malaria, cytokine production and cytoadherence of parasitized erythrocytes (PRBCs) to postcapillary venules are involved. We demonstrate that PRBC adhesion induces apoptosis in human endothelial cells (HLECs). PRBC adhesion modulated HLEC gene expression in tumor necrosis factor-alpha superfamily genes (Fas, Fas L, and DR-6) and apoptosis-related genes (Bad, Bax, caspase-3,SARP 2, DFF45/ICAD, IFN-gamma receptor 2, Bcl-w, Bik, and iNOS). Apoptosis was confirmed by (1) morphological modifications by electron microscopy, (2) annexin V binding, (3) DNA degradation, by measuring intracytoplasmic nucleosomes, and (4) caspase activity. The apoptotic stimulus was physical contact between HLECs and PRBCs and not parasite-secreted molecules. In addition, it was found that cytoplasmic (caspase 8) and mitochondrial (caspase 9) pathways were involved in this process. These data not only describe the direct apoptotic effect of PRBC adhesion on endothelial cells but also provide new useful tools that allow an evaluation of potential pharmaceuticals.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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