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Int J Parasitol. 2006 Nov;36(13):1409-18. Epub 2006 Aug 8.

Brain metabolic markers reflect susceptibility status in cytokine gene knockout mice with murine cerebral malaria.

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Discipline of Pathology, Institute for Biomedical Research, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia.


Treatment of cerebral malaria, a complication of the world's most significant parasitic disease, remains problematic due to lack of understanding of its pathogenesis. Metabolic changes, along with cytokine expression alterations and blood cell sequestration in the brain, have previously been reported during severe disease in human infection and mouse models leading to the "cytopathic hypoxia" and "sequestration" theories of pathogenesis. Here, to determine the robustness of the metabolic changes and their relationship to disease development, we investigated changes in cerebral metabolic markers in a mouse model of cerebral malaria (CM) in wildtype (C57BL/6) and cytokine knockout (TNF(-/-), IFNgamma(-/-) and LTalpha(-/-)) mice using multinuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Mice susceptible to CM (wildtype, TNF(-/-)) showed decreased cerebral glucose use, decreased Krebs cycle metabolism and decreased high-energy phosphates. Conversely, mice resistant to CM (IFNgamma(-/-), LTalpha(-/-)) showed little sign of these effects, despite identical levels of parasitemia. Previously reported changes in lactate were shown to be strain dependent. Elevated glutamine and decreased phosphorylation potential emerged as robust metabolic markers of susceptibility, further implicating the trytophan/NAD(+) pathway in disease development. Thus these metabolic changes are firmly linked both to the immune system response to malaria and to the occurrence of pathogenic changes in experimental CM.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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