Volume 18, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The effects of chloroquine on the morphology of the erythrocytic stages of an avian malaria parasite, , were studied in time sequences by both light and electron microscopy. After the administration of the drug (40 mg per kg) to the infected chickens, blood smears and samples were obtained at several time intervals up to 48 hours. The first change noted in the parasites, less than 1 hour after the drug administration, was in the food vacuoles, which enlarged, formed compartments, and were found to contain fragments of the parasite cytoplasm and crystalloid malarial pigment particles instead of amorphous particles seen in untreated parasites. Next were changes in the nucleus and nucleolus. Both became more electron-dense, and the nuclear membrane became obscure. Often nucleoli could not be observed in such nuclei. At the same time, ribosomes first increased in density and eventually disintegrated. In addition, the endoplasmic reticulum became less conspicuous, and mitochondria were swollen, with formation of myelin figures. Finally the nucleus became so dark that it was difficult to distinguish it from the darkened cytoplasm. These sequential changes may possibly reflect irreversible changes leading to the death of the parasite.


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