Volume 51, Issue 6
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



The development of antidisease immunity in children infected with is thought to be related to their immunologic responses to certain soluble parasite-derived exoantigens. We have assessed both cellular and humoral responses to these antigens in a cross-sectional study of a cohort of Gabonese schoolchildren who live in an area where malaria is holoendemic and perenially transmitted, in an attempt to identify immunologic markers of this early developing protective immunity. Concurrent parasitemia was found to have a significant influence on lymphoproliferative and antibody responses to the exoantigens. Individuals with higher levels of parasitemia had significantly lower proliferative and IgG isotype responses. Higher concentrations of specific IgG1 and IgG3, in particular, were associated with lower or no parasitemia, suggesting a possible protective role for these isotypes, whereas the level of IgM antibodies showed a trend towards higher concentrations in those with parasitemia, perhaps indicative of an exoantigen-induced T cell-independent response. Cytokine responses were unaffected by either the presence or the intensity of parasitemia and were dissociated from both proliferative and antibody responses to the exoantigens. However, the mitogen-stimulated production of tumor-necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL)-6 was positively correlated with the corresponding lymphoproliferative responses. At the individual level, mitogen-stimulated TNF-α, interferon-γ, IL-2, and IL-6 responses were positively correlated, as were mitogen- and exoantigen-induced TNF-α. The results are discussed in the light of current knowledge of immune responses to the exoantigens and the development of protective immunity to .


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