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Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2006 Jun;231(6):1176-81.

Endothelin in a murine model of cerebral malaria.

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Department of Medical and Molecular Parasitology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA.


Cerebral malaria (CM) remains a deadly complication of Plasmodium falciparum infection, and children are at high risk of developing encephalopathy as a result of CM. This is probably a consequence of the activation of many of the inflammatory cytokines as well as the glial cells and the vascular endothelium in the brain. We have previously demonstrated that there is a striking reduction in cerebral blood flow by magnetic resonance imaging when mice are infected with Plasmodium berghei ANKA (PbA), and we now demonstrate a possible role for endothelin (ET-1) in the pathogenesis of CM. The brains of female C57BL/6 mice with PbA infection were examined at Day 5 for the expression of ET-1, endothelin converting enzyme (ECE), and the endothelin receptors A and B (ET(A) and ET(B)) by both reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and quantitative real-time PCR. ET-1 and ECE mRNA expression was markedly increased by RT-PCR in PbA-infected mice. Real-time quantitative PCR demonstrated a 3-fold increase in ET-1 (P < 0.05) and a significant increase in ET(A) and ET(B) expression (P < 0.05) in PbA-infected mice. Histopathology bof PbA-infected mice demonstrated a transformation in the morphology of microglial cells and clustering of these cells consistent with activation. Though the full impact of ET-1 on CM remains to be elucidated, these findings demonstrate that in the murine model, there is a significant increase in ET-1 and its components, which is associated with the vasculopathy and immunopathology of CM.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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