Volume 46, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Heparin and various heparin fractions were separated according to differences in molecular weight or affinity for antithrombin III and used for the inhibition of merozoite invasion of red blood cells in vitro. No variation in sensitivity to heparin was found among the four strains of tested; all required approximately 5 µg/ml (0.5 U/ml) of heparin for 50% inhibition of invasion. The most efficient fraction of heparin was the one with low affinity for antithrombin III. Its 50% inhibition concentration was 1 µg/ml, indicating that it was more efficient than unfractionated heparin and other heparin fractions. The effect of heparin was reversible, since washing of heparin-treated cultures containing mainly schizonts showed no inhibition of merozoite invasion. The results suggest that a heparin fraction with no anticoagulant effect might be useful in the treatment of patients with falciparum malaria.


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