Growth of Plasmodium Falciparum in Sodium-Enriched Human Erythrocytes

Kazuyuki Tanabe
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Akihisa Izumo
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Katsuhiro KageyamaDepartment of Medical Zoology

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Transport of nutrients into animal cells is driven by transmembrane gradient of Na+ across the plasma membrane. The protozoan malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, however, grows within the host human erythrocytes, in which the cytoplasmic concentration of Na+ is maintained low by the membrane Na+, K+-ATPase. Our experiments show that human erythrocytes enriched with Na+ by treatment with ouabain (an inhibitor of the ATPase) will support the growth of P. falciparum in culture.

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