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Int J Parasitol. 2012 Aug;42(9):859-70. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpara.2012.07.001. Epub 2012 Jul 28.

The species specificity of immunity generated by live whole organism immunisation with erythrocytic and pre-erythrocytic stages of rodent malaria parasites and implications for vaccine development.

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Department of Protozoology, Institute of Tropical Medicine (NEKKEN), Nagasaki University, Sakamoto, Nagasaki, Japan.


A promising strategy for the development of a malaria vaccine involves the use of attenuated whole parasites, as these present a greater repertoire of antigens to the immune system than subunit vaccines. The complexity of the malaria parasite's life cycle offers multiple stages on which to base an attenuated whole organism vaccine. An important consideration in the design and employment of such vaccines is the diversity of the parasites that are infective to humans. The most valuable vaccine would be one that was effective against multiple species/strains of malaria parasite. Here we compare the species specificity of pre-erythrocytic and erythrocytic whole organism vaccination using live parasites with anti-malarial drug attenuation. The cross-stage protection afforded by each vaccination strategy, and the possibility that immunity against one stage may be abrogated by exposure to other stages of both homologous and heterologous parasites was also assessed. The rodent malaria parasites Plasmodium yoelii yoelii and Plasmodium vinckei lentum are to address these questions, as they offer the widest possible genetic distance between sub-species of malaria parasites infectious to rodents. It was found that both erythrocytic and pre-erythrocytic stage immunity generated by live, attenuated parasite vaccination have species-specific components, with pre-erythrocytic stage immunity offering a much broader pan-species protection. We show that the protection achieved following sporozoite inoculation with concurrent mefloquine treatment is almost entirely dependent of CD8(+) T-cells. Evidence is presented for cross-stage protection between erythrocytic and pre-erythrocytic stage vaccination. Finally, it is shown that, with these species, an erythrocytic stage infection of either a homologous or heterologous species following immunisation with pre-erythrocytic stages does not abrogate this immunity. This is the first direct comparison of the specificity and efficacy of erythrocytic and pre-erythrocytic stage whole organism vaccination strategies utilising the same parasite species pair.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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