Parasite multiplication potential and the severity of Falciparum malaria
Chotivanich K., Udomsangpetch R., Simpson JA., Newton P., Pukrittayakamee S., Looareesuwan S., White NJ.
The multiplication rates and invasiveness of Plasmodium falciparum parasites isolated from adult Thai patients hospitalized with uncomplicated malaria (n=34) were compared with those from persons with severe malaria (n=42). To simulate severe malaria and control for host effects, the in vitro cultures were adjusted to 1% parasitemia and used the same red blood cell donor. P. falciparum isolates from persons with severe malaria had initial cycle multiplication rates in vitro that were 3-fold higher than those from uncomplicated malaria (median [95% confidence interval], 8.3 [7. 1-10.5] vs. 2.8 [1.7-3.9]; P=.001). Parasites causing severe malaria exhibited unrestricted red blood cell invasion, whereas those from uncomplicated malaria were restricted to a geometric mean of 40 (31%-53%) of red blood cells. P. falciparum parasites causing severe malaria were less selective and multiplied more at high parasitemias than those causing uncomplicated malaria.