Comments on the Antigenic Analysis of Plasmodia

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As Dr. Zuckerman has demonstrated, valuable information is to be gained by the judicious use of gel diffusion techniques in the study of plasmodial antigens. She has outlined some of the principal objectives of such studies, namely, the definition of similarities and differences among plasmodial species and the characterization of protective antibodies. It might be added that studies of this type will probably be useful in the analysis of macromolecules involved in plasmodial physiology.

In connection with these objectives it would seem appropriate to mention briefly some technical pitfalls which must be avoided. Critical interpretation of differences in gel diffusion patterns requires that each antigenic species be unequivocably recognizable and may be independently sought in an unknown antigenic mixture. For this reason, the markers of relative mobility and position in the axis of diffusion must be rigidly determined and each antigen identified by its peculiar characteristics.

Author Notes

Department of Medical Zoology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, D.C.