Antibodies to Variant Surface Antigens of Plasmodium falciparum-Infected Erythrocytes and Adhesion Inhibitory Antibodies Are Associated with Placental Malaria and Have Overlapping and Distinct Targets

James G. Beeson, Emily J. Mann, Salenna R. Elliott, Valentino M. Lema, Eyob Tadesse, Malcolm E. Molyneux, Graham V. Brown, Stephen J. Rogerson

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We measured antibodies to chondroitin sulfate A (CSA)-binding and placental Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells (PRBCs) among pregnant women with or without placental malaria. Immunoglobulin G to PRBC surface antigens was rare in uninfected primigravidae (3.7%), more prevalent in infected primigravidae (70%; P< .001), and common in infected (77%) and uninfected (83%) multigravidae. Similar patterns were seen for agglutinating antibodies, and antibodies were similar among women with past or active placental infection. PRBC adhesion to CSA was inhibited 60% by cells obtained from infected primigravidae but 24% by cells obtained from uninfected primigravidae (P = .025), whereas infection did not alter adhesion inhibition by multigravidae (77% inhibition). There was substantial heterogeneity in antibody type and levels. Antibodies did not correlate with parasite density or pregnancy outcome. Comparisons between antibodies suggest that adhesion-inhibitory antibodies and those to PRBC variant antigens have distinct and overlapping epitopes, may be acquired independently, and have different roles in immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)540-551
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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