Production, Fate and Pathogenicity of Plasma Microparticles in Murine Cerebral Malaria

Publication Type:
Journal Article
PLoS Pathogens, 2014, 10 (3)
Issue Date:
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In patients with cerebral malaria (CM), higher levels of cell-specific microparticles (MP) correlate with the presence of neurological symptoms. MP are submicron plasma membrane-derived vesicles that express antigens of their cell of origin and phosphatidylserine (PS) on their surface, facilitating their role in coagulation, inflammation and cell adhesion. In this study, the in vivo production, fate and pathogenicity of cell-specific MP during Plasmodium berghei infection of mice were evaluated. Using annexin V, a PS ligand, and flow cytometry, analysis of platelet-free plasma from infected mice with cerebral involvement showed a peak of MP levels at the time of the neurological onset. Phenotypic analyses showed that MP from infected mice were predominantly of platelet, endothelial and erythrocytic origins. To determine the in vivo fate of MP, we adoptively transferred fluorescently labelled MP from mice with CM into healthy or infected recipient mice. MP were quickly cleared following intravenous injection, but microscopic examination revealed arrested MP lining the endothelium of brain vessels of infected, but not healthy, recipient mice. To determine the pathogenicity of MP, we transferred MP from activated endothelial cells into healthy recipient mice and this induced CM-like brain and lung pathology. This study supports a pathogenic role for MP in the aggravation of the neurological lesion and suggests a causal relationship between MP and the development of CM. © 2014 El-Assaad et al.
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