Volume 46, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



A major factor in the pathogenesis of human cerebral malaria is blockage of cerebral microvessels by the sequestration of parasitized human red blood cells (PRBC). In vitro studies indicate that sequestration of PRBC in the microvessels is mediated by the attachment of knobs on PRBC to receptors on the endothelial cell surface such as CD36, thrombospondin (TSP), and intercellular adhesion molecule- 1 (ICAM-1). However, it is difficult to test this theory in vivo because fresh human brain tissues from cerebral malarial autopsy cases are not easy to obtain. Although several animal models for human cerebral malaria have been proposed, none have shown pathologic findings that are similar to those seen in humans. In order to develop an animal model for human cerebral malaria, we studied brains of rhesus monkeys infected with the primate malaria parasite, . Our study demonstrated PRBC sequestration and cytoadherence of knobs on PRBC to endothelial cells in the cerebral microvessels of these monkeys. Cerebral microvessels with sequestered PRBC were shown by immunohistochemical analysis to possess CD36, TSP, and ICAM-1. These proteins were not evident in the cerebral microvessels of uninfected control monkeys. Thus, our study indicates, for the first time, that rhesus monkeys infected with can be used as a primate model to study human cerebral malaria. By using this animal model, we may be able to evaluate strategies for the development of vaccines to prevent human cerebral malaria.


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