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J Biol Chem. 2013 Apr 19;288(16):10962-6. doi: 10.1074/jbc.C113.457028. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

Experimental cerebral malaria develops independently of endothelial expression of intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (icam-1).

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Department of Microbiology and Neurology, University of Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama 35294, USA.


Cerebral malaria (CM) is a severe clinical complication of Plasmodium falciparum malaria infection and is characterized by a high fatality rate and neurological damage. Sequestration of parasite-infected red blood cells in brain microvasculature utilizes host- and parasite-derived adhesion molecules and is an important factor in the development of CM. ICAM-1, an alternatively spliced adhesion molecule, is believed to be critical on endothelial cells for infected red blood cell sequestration in CM. Using ICAM-1 mutant mice, we found that the full-length ICAM-1 isoform is not required for development of murine experimental CM (ECM) and that ECM phenotype varies with the combination of ICAM-1 isoforms expressed. Furthermore, we observed development of ECM in transgenic mice expressing ICAM-1 only on leukocytes, indicating that endothelial cell expression of this adhesion molecule is not required for disease pathogenesis. We propose that ICAM-1-dependent cellular aggregation, independent of ICAM-1 expression on the cerebral microvasculature, contributes to ECM.

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