Free Content Stage-specific effects of host plasma factors on the early sporogony of autologous Plasmodium falciparum isolates within Anopheles gambiae

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Quantitatively assessing the impact of naturally occurring transmission-blocking (TB) immunity on malaria parasite sporogonic development may provide a useful interpretation of the underlying mechanisms. Here, we compare the effects of plasma derived from 23 naturally infected gametocyte carriers (OWN) with plasma from donors without previous malaria exposure (AB) on the early sporogonic development of Plasmodium falciparum in Anopheles gambiae. Reduced parasite development efficiency was associated with mosquitoes taking a blood meal mixed with the gametocyte carriers’ own plasma, whereas replacing autologous plasma with non-immune resulted in the highest level of parasite survival. Seven days after an infective blood meal, 39.1% of the gametocyte carriers’ plasma tested showed TB activity as only a few macrogametocytes ingested along with immune plasma ended up as ookinetes but subsequent development was blocked in the presence of immune plasma. In other experiments (60.9%), the effective number of parasites declined dramatically from one developmental stage to the next, and resulted in an infection rate that was two-fold lower in OWN than in AB infection group. These findings are in agreement with those in other reports and go further by quantitatively examining at which transition stages TB immunity exerts its action. The transitions from macrogametocytes to gamete/zygote and from gamete/zygote to ookinete were identified as main targets. However, the net contribution of host plasma factors to these interstage parasite reductions was low (5–20%), suggesting that irrespective of the host plasma factors, mosquito factors might also lower the survival level of parasites during the early sporogonic development.

Keywords: Anopheles gambiae; Plasmodium falciparum; gametocyte; specific targets; transmission-blocking immunity

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1:  Unité de Paludologie, Organisation de Coordination pour la Lutte contre les Endèmies en Afrique Centrale, Yaoundé, Cameroon 2:  Department of Medical Microbiology, University Medical Center St Radboud, Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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