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Hematology - Infectious Diseases - Microbiology

Refractoriness of Eryptotic Red Blood Cells to Plasmodium falciparum Infection: A Putative Host Defense Mechanism Limiting Parasitaemia
Published: Friday, October 21, 2011
Author: Paulo Renato Rivas Totino et al.

by Paulo Renato Rivas Totino, Cláudio Tadeu Daniel-Ribeiro, Maria de Fátima Ferreira-da-Cruz

Recently, we have described that apoptosis-like process of red blood cells (RBC) – eryptosis – in malaria is not restricted to parasitized cells, occurring also in non-parasitized RBC (nRBC). Besides to pathogenic proprieties, apoptosis also participates in the innate defense trough restriction of intracellular pathogens propagation. In the present study, we investigated the capacity of P. falciparum parasites to infect eryptotic RBC. Schizont parasitized RBC concentrated by magnetic separation were cultured with eryptotic RBC obtained by ionomycin treatment and, then, parasite growth was evaluated in Giemsa-stained thin blood smears. While parasites infected and developed normally in control non-eryptotic RBC, cultures performed with eryptotic RBC had a marked decrease in parasitaemia. It was noteworthy a great number of free merozoites in eryptotic RBC cultures, indicating that these cells were not susceptible to invasion. We suggest that although eryptosis could be involved in malaria pathogenesis, it could also acting protectively by controlling parasite propagation.