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Parasite Immunol. 2011 Feb;33(2):104-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3024.2010.01259.x.

Antibodies to the Plasmodium falciparum rhoptry protein RAP-2/RSP-2 in relation to anaemia in Cameroonian children.

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Department of Immunology, Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden.


Previous studies have implicated reactive antibodies to the low molecular weight rhoptry-associated proteins (RAP-1, RAP-2/RSP-2 and RAP-3) in erythroid cell destruction during Plasmodium falciparum infection. In this pilot study, the frequency, specificity and functional capacity of naturally acquired anti-RAP-2/RSP-2 antibodies were investigated in the sera of anaemic and nonanaemic malaria-infected Cameroonian children. All sera recognized RAP-2/RSP-2 by FACS, irrespective of the clinical status of the subjects. However, the anaemic children showed higher levels of IgG antibodies than the nonanaemic group, while both groups showed similar levels of IgM antibodies. Only few individuals had detectable levels of RAP-2/RSP-2-specific IgG1 and IgG3 subclass antibodies, while no IgG2 and IgG4 subclass antibodies were detected in these subjects. By ELISA, the anaemic group tended to show higher levels of antibodies to RAP-2/RSP-2 regarding all antibody classes tested, except for IgG4 and IgE. Unexpectedly, sera from the nonanaemic group activated complement to a greater extent than those from the anaemic group. These results need to be confirmed in extended studies but indicate that the effector functions of the RAP-2/RSP-2-reactive antibodies may be more important than their amounts. Such antibodies could play a role in both immunity and pathogenesis during P. falciparum infection.

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