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Human Red Cells With Paroxysmal Nocturnal Haemoglobinuria Phenotype Are Competent For The Growth Of Plasmodium falciparum

JI Achumba
EO Brien
M Bessier
L Luzzatto


Paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH) is an acquired blood disorder characterised by acute intravascular haemolysis, due to increased susceptibility of red cells to complement -mediated lysis. Any red cell abnormality that would affect the invasion and growth of Plasmodium falciparum would serve as a useful tool for the future intervention of malaria infection in humans. The aim was to find out whether P. Falciparum can invade and infect these abnormal human red cells, and whether the parasite depends on the host cell for the synthesis of its GPI anchors.

Patients with the PNH condition have a mixture of normal and abnormal red blood cells (RBCs) in their blood. In order to obtain a homogenous sample of abnormal (PNH) cells, PNH red cells were purified from patients with this condition by the process of 'panning'. The purified cells were used as hosts for the culture of P.falciparum in vitro.

Results show that GPI-linked molecules on the red cell surface are not required for the efficient entry of the parasites, and that the PNH red cells are competent to sustain the growth of P.falciparum.

Nigerian Quarterly Journal of Hospital Medicine Vol. 9, No. 2 (June 1999) pp. 138-142

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