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Infect Immun. 1984 Feb;43(2):664-9.

Killing of human malaria parasites by macrophage secretory products.


The susceptibility of the human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, to killing in vitro by macrophage secretory products was investigated. The effect of O2 radicals and tumor necrosis factor on parasite viability was assessed both morphologically and by following the uptake of [3H]hypoxanthine. H2O2 produced by the interaction of glucose and glucose oxidase was found to reduce viability; this effect was reversed by the addition of exogenous catalase. Further studies indicated that the catalase level within the erythrocyte was not altered upon parasite invasion. O2 radicals produced during the xanthine-xanthine oxidase interaction also killed P. falciparum. The addition of various O2 radical scavengers (including catalase) did not reverse this effect; therefore, it was not possible to determine which of the O2 radicals were involved in the killing process. Samples from three different sources containing tumor necrosis factor, a nonspecific soluble mediator derived from Mycobacterium bovis BCG-activated macrophages treated with endotoxin, also killed the parasite. There was no evidence that tumor necrosis factor or the products of the xanthine-xanthine oxidase interaction caused damage to the erythrocyte membrane that could be implicated as an important aspect of the killing process. These findings all strongly suggest that such macrophage products play an important role in immunity to malaria.

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