Volume 58, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Variant- and strain-specific immunity to malaria in Saimiri monkeys infected with homologous O and R variants of the Palo Alto strain (FUPSP) of Plasmodium falciparum or by various heterologous divergent strains were studied. Following homologous reinfections, the primary immune response in monkeys was effective only against the same variant type but not against the other variant, which differed only by antigens exposed at the surface of the infected red blood cell. In contrast, after two successive inoculations with a single variant type, a variant transcending immunity developed to both O and R parasite populations. The immunity against FUPSP in monkeys repeatedly infected with various combinations of heterologous strains, including Sal I, Tanzania, Camp, FUPCP, FCH4, FVO, and FUPCDC parasites was less effective, resulting at best in protecting the monkey against fulminating infection. However, in several cases, previous or concomitant heterologous infections modified the course of virulent infection by FUPSP parasites, indicating a significant degree of cross-protection between the strains. Therefore, in this model, while variant- and strain-specific antigens are important components of acquired immunity to malaria, the monkey immune response to infection transcends phenotypic antigenic variation and strain diversity.


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