Volume 66, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The present study was initiated to characterize antibody responses to repetitive epitopes of the circumsporozoite protein (CSP), liver stage antigen-1 (LSA-1), and merozoite surface protein-2 (MSP-2) of Plasmodium falciparum in infants residing in a P. falciparum-hyperendemic area of western Kenya. In this study, development and maintenance of these antibody responses in 28 infants were studied longitudinally by use of monthly serum samples collected from birth to age 1 year. Mother plasma and infant umbilical cord plasma were also tested to assess the transplacental transfer of maternal antibodies. Results showed that antibodies passively transferred from mothers were detectable for CSP, LSA-1, and MSP-2 repeat epitopes. Infants were able to mount and maintain a strong antibody response against LSA-1 in their first year of life. Infants often responded to CSP repeats, but with a much lower antibody titer. Antibody responses in infants against Fc27 and 3D7 repeats of MSP-2 were low throughout their first year. In addition, 51 infants whose first detected infection occurred at > 4 months of age were selected to determine antibody responses to the antigens tested upon their first and second detected infections. Antibody responses to LSA-1 and, to a lesser degree, CSP increased in positivity rates and titer upon second infection. Antibody responses to Fc27-type and 3D7-type repeats of MSP-2 were low upon both infections. There was no association between maternally transferred anti-LSA-1, anti-CSP, or anti-MSP-2 antibodies and an infant's first detected infection. No significant correlation was found between an infant's antibody responses to the 4 antigen repetitive epitopes and protection against malarial parasitemia during the first year of life.


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