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J Immunol Methods. 2011 Mar 31;367(1-2):1-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jim.2011.01.015. Epub 2011 Feb 4.

Methodology and application of flow cytometry for investigation of human malaria parasites.

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  • 1Center for Global Health and Diseases, Case Western Reserve, University, Wolstein Research Building, 4-134 Cleveland, OH 44106-7286, United States.


Historically, examinations of the inhibition of malaria parasite growth/invasion, whether using drugs or antibodies, have relied on the use of microscopy or radioactive hypoxanthine uptake. These are considered gold standards for measuring the effectiveness of antimalarial treatments, however, these methods have well known shortcomings. With the advent of flow cytometry coupled with the use of fluorescent DNA stains allowed for increased speed, reproducibility, and qualitative estimates of the effectiveness of antibodies and drugs to limit malaria parasite growth which addresses the challenges of traditional techniques. Because materials and machines available to research facilities are so varied, different methods have been developed to investigate malaria parasites by flow cytometry. This review is intended to serve as a reference guide for advanced users and importantly, as a primer for new users, to support expanded use and improvements to malaria flow cytometry, particularly in endemic countries.

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