Novel technique demonstrates interactions between malaria parasite and HIV

August 15, 2012
Here, scientist Guadalupe Andreani prepares cells for culture. Credit: Journal of Visualized Experiments

The World Health Organization estimates that in 2011 there were 216 million cases of malaria and 34.2 million people living with HIV. These diseases particularly afflict sub-Saharan Africa, where large incidence of co-infection result in high mortality rates. Yet, in spite of this global pandemic, interactions between the parasite that causes malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, and HIV-1 are poorly understood. However, a new video article in JoVE, the Journal of Visualized Experiments, that describes a novel technique to study the interactions between HIV-1 and P. falciparum in cultured human cells, will allow scientists to explore different parameters of co-infection by the two microbes.

The study is led by Dr. David Richard of the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Quebec (CHUQ). Dr. Richard explains, "We don't know much about what is happening at the cellular level when HIV-1-infected immune cells encounter the . Results obtained from the few studies exploring the interaction of these two diseases are sometimes conflicting. We hope that our model will allow us to thoroughly dissect these interactions in a simplified system."

Each disease attacks a different component of human blood, thus disturbing normal immune function. P. falciparum infect red blood cells and cause fever, shivering, vomiting, or convulsions in patients. HIV-1 causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) by infecting components of the immune system, including macrophages and helper T cells, and then replicates and destroys the host cells. By studying co-infection at different phases of each disease in vitro, scientists can better understand how different stages of and HIV reproduction affect the onset and severity of the other disease. As such, Dr. Richard and his laboratory present a technique that investigates how P. falciparum-infected affect the replication of HIV-1 in monocyte-derived macrophages.

Dr. Richard points out that, "by publishing in JoVE, you really see what is happening in the experiment. The visual representation helps succinctly explain a long procedure, and gives you a fuller picture of the schematic complexity." He hopes that this publication will give the scientific community the tools to look at the interactions on a cellular level, which would be an initial step in improving the quality of life for individuals infected by these deadly diseases. "This protocol provides a tool to examine the interactions between P. falciparium and HIV," states JoVE editor Dr. Charlotte Frank Sage, "Publication of the protocol in JoVE will allow researchers around the world to see a detailed demonstration of this system which will help in bring the technology to their laboratories."

Explore further: Scientists find another key to HIV success

More information: Richard et. al.: www.jove.com/video/4166/an-vitro-co-infection-model-to-study-plasmodium-falciparum-hiv-1

Related Stories

Scientists find another key to HIV success

March 22, 2006

Weill Cornell Medical College scientists say they've determined a protein produced by HIV infected cells prevents immune B cells from producing antibodies.

Exhausted B cells fail to fight HIV

July 14, 2008

HIV tires out the cells that produce virus-fighting proteins known as antibodies, according to a human study that will be published online July 14 in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Unveiling malaria's 'invisibility cloak'

January 18, 2012

The discovery by researchers from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of a molecule that is key to malaria's 'invisibility cloak' will help to better understand how the parasite causes disease and escapes from the defenses ...

New HIV-inhibiting protein identified

May 29, 2012

Scientists have identified a new HIV-suppressing protein in the blood of people infected with the virus. In laboratory studies, the protein, called CXCL4 or PF-4, binds to HIV such that it cannot attach to or enter a human ...

Improving human immunity to malaria

August 1, 2012

The deadliest form of malaria is caused the protozoan Plasmodium falciparum. During its life-cycle in human blood, the parasite P. falciparum expresses unique proteins on the surface on infected blood cells.

Recommended for you

Zika virus may persist in the vagina days after infection

August 25, 2016

The Zika virus reproduces in the vaginal tissue of pregnant mice several days after infection, according to a study by Yale researchers. From the genitals, the virus spreads and infects the fetal brain, impairing fetal development. ...

Team discovers how Zika virus causes fetal brain damage

August 24, 2016

Infection by the Zika virus diverts a key protein necessary for neural cell division in the developing human fetus, thereby causing the birth defect microcephaly, a team of Yale scientists reported Aug. 24 in the journal ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.