Relationship Between Humoral Response to Plasmodium falciparum Merozoite Surface Antigen-2 and Malaria Morbidity in a Highly Endemic Area of Papua New Guinea

Fadwa Al-YamanPapua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Madang, Papua New Guinea

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Blaise GentonPapua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Madang, Papua New Guinea

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Robin F. AndersPapua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Madang, Papua New Guinea

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Michael FalkPapua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Madang, Papua New Guinea

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Trevor TrigliaPapua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Madang, Papua New Guinea

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Don LewisPapua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Madang, Papua New Guinea

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Jeffrey HiiPapua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Madang, Papua New Guinea

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Hans-Peter BeckPapua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Madang, Papua New Guinea

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Michael P. AlpersPapua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Madang, Papua New Guinea

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The prevalence and concentration of antibodies to merozoite surface antigen-2 (MSA-2) were measured in blood samples collected during a cross-sectional survey. Antibodies were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using two recombinant proteins that closely approximated the full-length mature MSA-2 polypeptides expressed by the Plasmodium falciparum isolate FC27 and the cloned line 3D7 and that were representative of the dimorphic forms of MSA-2. Antibodies were also measured to a form of the 3D7 MSA-2 lacking the central repetitive sequences (d3D7). High antibody prevalence was observed to all three antigens: the overall prevalence of IgG to FC27, 3D7, and d3D7 was 91%, 90%, and 90%, respectively. The majority of individuals ≥ 5 years of age had antibodies to both forms of MSA-2. The geometric mean antibody units increased with age with a plateau being reached by 15–20 years of age. There was a significant positive association of antibody prevalence with both the presence of the parasite and an enlarged spleen in children. This study provides the first evidence that antibodies against nonrepeat regions of MSA-2 are associated with fewer fever episodes and less anemia, both known to be indicators of malaria morbidity.

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