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CEREBRAL METABOLIC REDUCTION IN SEVERE MALARIA: FLUORODEOXYGLUCOSE-POSITRON EMISSION TOMOGRAPHY IMAGING IN A PRIMATE MODEL OF SEVERE HUMAN MALARIA WITH CEREBRAL INVOLVEMENT

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  • 1 Department of Parasitology and Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Gunma University Graduate School of Medicine, Maebashi, Japan; Department of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, Dokkyo University School of Medicine, Mibu, Tochigi, Japan; Nishidai Clinic Diagnostic Imaging Center, Takashimadaira, Tokyo, Japan; Department of Radiology, Yokohama City University School of Medicine, Yokohama, Japan; Gunma University Graduate School of Health Sciences, Maebashi, Japan

Cerebral metabolic changes in Japanese macaques (Macaca fuscata) infected with Plasmodium coatneyi, a primate model of severe human malaria with cerebral involvement, were directly evaluated by fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET). We observed diffuse and heterogeneous reduction of metabolism in the cerebral cortex in the acute phase of malaria infection. Neuropathologic examination showed preferential sequestration of parasitized red blood cells in the cerebral microvasculature. However, hemorrhagic change or necrosis was not observed in hematoxylin and eosin-stained and Nissl-stained brain tissues. This suggests that reduction of cerebral metabolism occurs before parenchymal changes appear in the brain. This may be one reason why more than half of the patients with cerebral malaria have no neurologic sequelae after recovery.

Author Notes

Reprint requests: Satoru Kawai, Department of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology, Dokkyo University School of Medicine, Mibu, Tochigi, 321-0293 Japan.
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