Deep Vascular Schizogony in Plasmodium Fragile: Organ Distribution and Ultrastructure of Erythrocytes Adherent to Vascular Endothelium

Henry N. FremountDepartment of Biology, East Stroudsburg State College, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania 18301

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Louis H. MillerDepartment of Biology, East Stroudsburg State College, Laboratory of Parasitic Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania 18301

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Erythrocytes infected with Plasmodium fragile, like those infected with P. falciparum and P. coatneyi, adhere to vessels in heart, adipose tissue and, to a lesser extent, other organs. The marked sequestration of asexual parasites was associated with 100 nm knob protrusions on the plasma membrane of infected erythrocytes. The close apposition between knobs and endothelium (1 nm or less) excludes macromolecules such as fibrinogen or antibodies as the adhesive force. The components on the membrane responsible for adhesion at the knobs remain unknown.

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