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Scand J Immunol. 1996 Feb;43(2):219-27.

Experimental human Plasmodium falciparum infections: longitudinal analysis of lymphocyte responses with particular reference to gamma delta T cells.

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Australian Centre for International and Tropical Health and Nutrition, Queensland Institute of Medical Research, Herston, Australia.


The kinetics of the gamma delta T-cell response was analysed in the context of the overall haematological response in subjects experimentally infected with sporozoites of Plasmodium falciparum. Numbers of gamma delta and alpha beta T cells and NK cells declined markedly during infection to reach minimum values 12-13 days post-infection when the patients were ill. This decline commenced from the beginning of the erythrocytic cycle and well before parasites could be detected microscopically and clinical symptoms developed. Platelet numbers also declined. In vivo activation of gamma delta T cells was evident with sequential up-regulation of the activation markers CD69 and HLA-DR. gamma delta T cell numbers were highest after treatment with the majority being CD4-CD8-, HLA-DR+ and showing reduced CD45RA expression. Contrary to some published observations gamma delta T-cell percentages remained within the normal range. Little evidence of upregulation of activation or memory markers was observed in the alpha beta T-cell population. In vitro proliferative responses to malaria antigen which involve gamma delta T cells were lost as the infection progressed and the lymphocyte count declined but these could be restored with the addition of exogenous IL-2 to cultures. The authors findings are consistent with a protective and/or immunomodulatory role for gamma delta T cells in malaria.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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