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The production of cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor (TNF) may contribute to the pathology of malaria. We showed previously that crude preparations of heat-stable exoantigens from parasite cultures induce the release of TNF in vitro and in vivo. When separated from the culture medium by affinity chromatography, in which immune immunoglobulin G was used as ligand, the mixture of exoantigens of Plasmodium falciparum retained the capacity to induce the secretion of TNF, both by human monocytes from Gambian children and by mouse macrophages. Two individual antigens, Ag1 and Ag7, further purified by affinity chromatography and identified by crossed immunoelectrophoresis, also stimulated TNF production by both types of cell but differed in other functional properties. Thus, the activity of Ag7, but not that of Ag1, was inhibited by polymyxin B, and antisera made against boiled exoantigens of the rodent parasite Plasmodium yoelii which blocked the ability of these antigens to induce the production of TNF also inhibited the activity of Ag7 without affecting Ag1. Since the prevalence of antibody against Ag7 in sera from children in endemic areas appears to correlate with the development of immunity against the manifestations of the disease, this antigen may be one cause of pathology, perhaps through its ability to induce the production of TNF. Its serological relationship with rodent exoantigens suggests that it might be a candidate for an anti-disease vaccine which has the advantage that its active moiety is not subject to significant antigen polymorphism.


Journal article


Infect Immun

Publication Date





2923 - 2928