Longitudinal study of natural immune responses to the Plasmodium falciparum apical membrane antigen (AMA-1) in a holoendemic region of malaria in western Kenya: Asembo Bay Cohort Project VIII.

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  • 1 Division of Parasitic Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, Georgia, USA. VXU0@CDC.GOV

We investigated the development and maintenance of proliferative and antibody responses to apical membrane antigen-1 (AMA-1) epitopes in a holoendemic area of western Kenya. Young children (< 10 years), older children (10-17 years), and adults (> or = 18 years) were followed longitudinally for antibody and T-cell responses at 3 time points with an interval of 3-4 months. The proliferative responses against the AMA-1 T epitopes (PL171, PL172, PL173, PL186, PL191, and PL192) were not stable during follow-up; however, response to mycobacterial antigen PPD was highly stable. The responder frequencies were similar in all 3 time points except for epitope PL192. The younger and older children responded more frequently to T-cell epitopes, but the differences were not significant. A positive proliferative response to PL191 was associated with a significantly lower risk of parasitemia at subsequent follow-up (relative risk, 0.5; P = 0.03). The presence of antibody response to B epitopes PL169, PL170, PL173, PL187, and PL192 in one time point was associated with a subsequent response (P = 0.0001-0.008) suggesting a stable response. Younger (P = 0.046) and older children (P = 0.017) more frequently responded to epitope PL169 than did adults, and adults responded more frequently to PL187 than did younger children (P = 0.009). Responses to AMA-1 T-cell epitopes were short lived, and antibody responses were relatively stable.