Regulation of Leukocyte Adhesion Molecules CD11b/CD18 and Leukocyte Adhesion Molecule-1 on Phagocytic Cells Activated by Malaria Pigment

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  • Department of Immunology and Parasitology, U.S. Army Medical Component, Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, Bangkok, Thailand

There is increasing evidence that inappropriate immune activation induced by parasite products occurs in malaria disease. To further clucidate the role of Plasmodium falciparum-derived products on host immune activation, we studied the expression of leukocyte adhesion molecules (CD11b/CD18 and LAM-1) on neutrophils and monocytes in response to malaria pigment using flow cytometry. Exposure of leukocytes to isolated malaria pigment derived from ruptured schizonts resulted in significant up-regulation of CD11b/CD18 expression and down-regulation of LAM-1 on both neutrophils and monocytes. In contrast, culture supernatants (pigment free) from ruptured schizonts did not alter the expression of CD11b/CD18 and LAM-1. The increase of CD11b/CD18 and the loss of LAM-1 expression occurred simultaneously with the earliest response detected at 10 min and a plateau reached by 60 min. The effect of malaria pigment on leukocyte adhesion molecules was inhibited by EDTA in a dose-dependent manner. Phagocytosis of malaria pigment was also suppressed by EDTA. This observation suggests that phagocytosis of malaria pigment may be a prerequisite for the effect of malaria pigment on the regulation of CD11b/CD18 and LAM-1 expression. Regulation of leukocyte adhesion molecules through up-regulation of CD11b/CD18 and down-regulation of LAM-1 by malaria pigment could promote leukocyte adherence to endothelium in vivo. This increased adherence of malaria pigment-activated leukocytes might induce cytokine (tumor necrosis factorα and interleukin-1β)-mediated increases in capillary permeability resulting in local tissue edema, and a cytokine-mediated increase in adhesion molecule expression causing vascular clogging by adherent red blood cells, and in severe disease by adherent leukocytes.

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