Placental Pathology in Plasmodium berghei-Infected Rats

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  • Institute of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Department of Tropical Medicine and Medical Microbiology, John A. Burns School of Medicine, University of Hawaii, Cleveland, Ohio

The pathologic changes in placentae of pregnant rats infected with Plasmodium berghei at different stages of gestation were studied using light and electron microscopy and immunohistochemistry. The major changes observed were thickening and duplication of the trophoblastic basement membrane, and accumulation of parasitized erythrocytes and occasional mononuclear cells in the maternal blood space. Immunohistochemical examination of nine placentae revealed that six stained positively for IgG, two for IgM, and four for P. berghei antigen. No C3 deposition was detected. The findings in this study indicate that the variable parasitologic-clinical course from benign to fatal of P. berghei infection in pregnant rats makes it a potentially valuable model of human gestational malaria infection.

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