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Scand J Immunol. 1987 Apr;25(4):335-41.

Generation of reactive oxygen radicals by human phagocytic cells activated by Plasmodium falciparum.


The role of monocytes, macrophages and neutrophils in killing malaria parasites is well documented, and their involvement in malaria pathology has been suggested. However, the underlying mechanisms are not clear. The present study reports on the role of P. falciparum-parasitized erythrocytes, free merozoites, and culture supernatant antigens in the generation of reactive oxygen radicals by human peripheral blood monocytes and neutrophils. Blood neutrophils and monocytes obtained from healthy individuals were isolated by density gradient separation. A human isolate of P. falciparum was grown in continuous culture. Parasitized erythrocytes and free merozoites were prepared from synchronized cultures. Soluble antigens from culture supernatants were purified by affinity chromatography using CNBr-Sepharose 4B columns bound to specific IgG. Oxidative burst response of neutrophils and monocytes were determined by oxygen consumption, superoxide production, and chemiluminescence. It was found that P. falciparum merozoites and the soluble antigens were capable of activating neutrophils and monocytes in vitro and resulting in the production of oxygen radicals by these cells. In conclusion, these findings demonstrate that malaria antigens are able to activate normal human blood phagocytes and result in generation of oxygen radicals by these cells. The released oxygen radicals can then contribute to both the destruction of the parasite and the pathology of malaria.

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