Molecular Markers for Sensitive Detection of Plasmodium falciparum Asexual Stage Parasites and their Application in a Malaria Clinical Trial
SourceAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 97, 1, (2017), pp. 188-198
Article / Letter to editor
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American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
SubjectRadboudumc 4: lnfectious Diseases and Global Health RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 4: lnfectious Diseases and Global Health RIMLS: Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences
Plasmodium falciparum parasite life stages respond differently to antimalarial drugs. Sensitive stage-specific molecular assays may help to examine parasite dynamics at microscopically detectable and submicroscopic parasite densities in epidemiological and clinical studies. In this study, we compared the performance of skeleton-binding protein 1 (SBP1), ring-infected erythrocyte surface antigen, Hyp8, ring-exported protein 1 (REX1), and PHISTb mRNA for detecting ring-stage trophozoite-specific transcripts using quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Markers were tested on tightly synchronized in vitro parasites and clinical trial samples alongside established markers of parasite density (18S DNA and rRNA) and gametocyte density (Pfs25 mRNA). SBP1 was the most sensitive marker but showed low-level expression in mature gametocytes. Novel markers REX1 and PHISTb showed lower sensitivity but higher specificity for ring-stage trophozoites. Using in vivo clinical trial samples from gametocyte-negative patients, we observed evidence of persisting trophozoite transcripts for at least 14 days postinitiation of treatment. It is currently not clear if these transcripts represent viable parasites that may have implications for clinical treatment outcome or transmission potential.
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