Volume 68, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Thrombospondin-related adhesive protein (TRAP) of is currently being tested in human vaccine studies. However, its natural reactivity in the field remains poorly characterized. More than 40% of 217 Kenyan donors responded in an interferon-γ (IFN-γ) enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay to at least one of 14 20mer peptides spanning 42% of the antigen. Reactivity was comparable from early childhood (>1 year of age) to old age, and the maximal precursor frequency of TRAP-specific cells to all 14 peptides was 1 in 4,000. Prospective follow-up for one year indicated that these low-level responses to TRAP did not protect against the subsequent development of malaria. Retesting of selected donors after one year showed a complete change in the reactivity pattern, suggesting that malaria-specific IFN-γ ELISPOT assay responses are short lived in naturally exposed donors, even to conserved epitopes. This study provides important information regarding natural reactivity to a key malaria antigen.


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  • Received : 30 Sep 2002
  • Accepted : 26 Dec 2002

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