Human Immune Responses to the Plasmodium Falciparum Ring-Infected Erythrocyte Surface Antigen (Pf155/RESA) after a Decrease in Malaria Transmission in Madagascar

Florence MigotINSERM U13/Institut de Medecine et d'Epidemiologie Africaines, Hopital Claude Bernard, Services de Parasitologie, Facultes de Medecine (Lille II) et de Pharmacie (Paris V), Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, Paris, France

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Claire ChougnetINSERM U13/Institut de Medecine et d'Epidemiologie Africaines, Hopital Claude Bernard, Services de Parasitologie, Facultes de Medecine (Lille II) et de Pharmacie (Paris V), Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, Paris, France

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Lucie RaharimalalaINSERM U13/Institut de Medecine et d'Epidemiologie Africaines, Hopital Claude Bernard, Services de Parasitologie, Facultes de Medecine (Lille II) et de Pharmacie (Paris V), Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, Paris, France

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Pascal AstagneauINSERM U13/Institut de Medecine et d'Epidemiologie Africaines, Hopital Claude Bernard, Services de Parasitologie, Facultes de Medecine (Lille II) et de Pharmacie (Paris V), Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, Paris, France

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Jean-Paul LepersINSERM U13/Institut de Medecine et d'Epidemiologie Africaines, Hopital Claude Bernard, Services de Parasitologie, Facultes de Medecine (Lille II) et de Pharmacie (Paris V), Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, Paris, France

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Philippe DeloronINSERM U13/Institut de Medecine et d'Epidemiologie Africaines, Hopital Claude Bernard, Services de Parasitologie, Facultes de Medecine (Lille II) et de Pharmacie (Paris V), Institut Pasteur de Madagascar, Paris, France

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A resurgence of falciparum malaria occurred in the central highlands of Madagascar in the 1980s and was responsible for an outbreak in 1986–1987. Since 1989, transmission has decreased dramatically. In April 1991, we investigated the humoral and cellular immune responses of 53 inhabitants of the village of Manarintsoa to six synthetic peptides that reproduced the major B and/or T cell epitopes of the Pf155/ring-infected erythrocyte surface antigen (RESA) of Plasmodium falciparum. The presence of RESA peptide-reactive T cells was assessed by lymphocyte proliferation assay as well as by detection of in vitro production of interferon-gamma and interleukin-2. The mean values of these cellular responses were low, and the results obtained in these three tests showed no correlation. Twenty-seven subjects presented with anti-RESA antibodies as detected by modified immunofluorescent assay, but the mean levels of anti-peptide antibodies were low. When compared with data obtained in January 1988 from the same subjects with three of the six peptides, the present data demonstrated a decrease in the response to these peptides in terms of both proliferative response and mean antibody titers. The mean values of anti-RESA antibodies remained unchanged. The fact that cellular and humoral responses to the major Pf155/RESA epitopes decreased but did not disappear probably reflects both the remainder of the acquired immunity resulting from the 1986–1987 malaria outbreak, and its conservation by the very low level of transmission since 1989.

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