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Malar J. 2014 Apr 5;13:136. doi: 10.1186/1475-2875-13-136.

Sporozoite immunization of human volunteers under chemoprophylaxis induces functional antibodies against pre-erythrocytic stages of Plasmodium falciparum.

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Radboud University Medical Center, Department of Medical Microbiology, Geert Grooteplein 28, Microbiology 268, Nijmegen, HB 6500, The Netherlands.



Long-lasting and sterile protective immunity against Plasmodium falciparum can be achieved by immunization of malaria-naive human volunteers under chloroquine prophylaxis with sporozoites delivered by mosquito bites (CPS-immunization). Protection is mediated by sporozoite/liver-stage immunity. In this study, the capacity of CPS-induced antibodies to interfere with sporozoite functionality and development was explored.


IgG was purified from plasma samples obtained before and after CPS-immunization from two separate clinical trials. The functionality of these antibodies was assessed in vitro in gliding and human hepatocyte traversal assays, and in vivo in a human liver-chimeric mouse model.


Whereas pre-treatment of sporozoites with 2 mg/ml IgG in the majority of the volunteers did not have an effect on in vitro sporozoite gliding motility, CPS-induced IgG showed a distinct inhibitory effect in the sporozoite in vitro traversal assay. Pre-treatment of P. falciparum sporozoites with post-immunization IgG significantly inhibited sporozoite traversal through hepatocytes in 9/9 samples when using 10 and 1 mg/ml IgG, and was dose-dependent, resulting in an average 16% and 37% reduction with 1 mg/ml IgG (p = 0.003) and 10 mg/ml IgG (p = 0.002), respectively. In vivo, CPS-induced IgG reduced liver-stage infection and/or development after a mosquito infection in the human liver-chimeric mouse model by 91.05% when comparing 11 mice receiving post-immunization IgG to 11 mice receiving pre-immunization IgG (p = 0.0008).


It is demonstrated for the first time that CPS-immunization induces functional antibodies against P. falciparum sporozoites, which are able to reduce parasite-host cell interaction by inhibiting parasite traversal and liver-stage infection. These data highlight the functional contribution of antibody responses to pre-erythrocytic immunity after whole-parasite immunization against P. falciparum malaria.

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