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PLoS One. 2010 Feb 16;5(2):e9230. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0009230.

Differential recognition of P. falciparum VAR2CSA domains by naturally acquired antibodies in pregnant women from a malaria endemic area.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Plasmodium falciparum infected red blood cells (iRBC) express variant surface antigens (VSA) of which VAR2CSA is involved in placental sequestration and causes pregnancy-associated malaria (PAM). Primigravidae are most susceptible to PAM whereas antibodies associated with protection are often present at higher levels in multigravid women. However, HIV co-infection with malaria has been shown to alter this parity-dependent acquisition of immunity, with more severe symptoms as well as more malaria episodes in HIV positive women versus HIV negative women of a similar parity.

METHODS:

Using VAR2CSA DBL-domains expressed on the surface of CHO-745 cells we quantified levels of DBL-domain specific IgG in sera from pregnant Malawian women by flow cytometry. Dissociations constants of DBL5epsilon specific antibodies were determined using a surface plasmon resonance technique, as an indication of antibody affinities.

RESULTS:

VAR2CSA DBL5epsilon was recognized in a gender and parity-dependent manner with anti-DBL5epsilon IgG correlating significantly with IgG levels to VSA-PAM on the iRBC surface. HIV positive women had lower levels of anti-DBL5epsilon IgG than HIV negative women of similar parity. In primigravidae, antibodies in HIV positive women also showed significantly lower affinity to VAR2CSA DBL5epsilon.

CONCLUSIONS:

Pregnant women from a malaria-endemic area had increased levels of anti-DBL5epsilon IgG by parity, indicating this domain of VAR2CSA to be a promising vaccine candidate against PAM. However, it is important to consider co-infection with HIV, as this seems to change the properties of antibody response against malaria. Understanding the characteristics of antibody response against VAR2CSA is undoubtedly imperative in order to design a functional and efficient vaccine against PAM.

PMID:
20169064
PMCID:
PMC2821912
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0009230
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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