Novel treatment protects mice against malaria; approach may work in humans as well

Malaria is a major global health concern, and researchers are in need of new therapeutic approaches. To address this concern, a study published Oct. 26 in the online journal PLoS ONE reveals new information about the host cell's treatment of the parasite that causes the disease in mice, opening potential new avenues for research and treatment.

The new work, led by Hernando del Portillo of the Barcelona Centre for International Health Research, used a mouse model of malaria infection to detect parasite proteins in small vesicles produced by a variety of called exosomes.

These vesicles had recently been shown to be involved in the immune response to a number of infections, and therefore of potential interest for , but their connection to malaria had not been previously investigated.

In the new study, the researchers found that reticulocyte-derived exosomes (rex) are involved in the , and they also showed that rex containing parasite proteins could be used to immunize mice, resulting in full protection upon lethal infections in 85% of the animals. While the work up to this point has been limited to a mouse model of the malaria parasite, the authors suggest that the results present new possible directions for the development of novel anti-malaria treatments, specifically against the human malaria parasite P. vivax which has a unique cell tropism for reticulocytes, the original cells where exosomes were discovered.

More information: Martin-Jaular L, Nakayasu ES, Ferrer M, Almeida IC, del Portillo HA (2011) Exosomes from Plasmodium yoelii-Infected Reticulocytes Protect Mice from Lethal Infections. PLoS ONE 6(10): e26588. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026588

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Vaccine hope for malaria

May 23, 2007

One person dies of it every 30 seconds, it rivals HIV and tuberculosis as the world’s most deadly infection and the vast majority of its victims are under five years old. Now, just over 100 years since Britain’s Sir Ronald ...

Recommended for you

Student seeks to improve pneumonia vaccines

10 hours ago

Almost a million Americans fall ill with pneumonia each year. Nearly half of these cases require hospitalization, and 5-7 percent are fatal. Current vaccines provide protection against some strains of the ...

Seabed solution for cold sores

12 hours ago

The blue blood of abalone, a seabed delicacy could be used to combat common cold sores and related herpes virus following breakthrough research at the University of Sydney.

Better living through mitochondrial derived vesicles

Aug 19, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—As principal transformers of bacteria, organelles, synapses, and cells, vesicles might be said to be the stuff of life. One need look no further than the rapid rise to prominence of The ...

Zebrafish help to unravel Alzheimer's disease

Aug 19, 2014

New fundamental knowledge about the regulation of stem cells in the nerve tissue of zebrafish embryos results in surprising insights into neurodegenerative disease processes in the human brain. A new study by scientists at ...

User comments