Erythrocyte Susceptibility to Plasmodium Vivax, Grassi and Feletti, 1890

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  • Glynn County Board of Health, Brunswick, Georgia


In 1933 Eaton (1), in a preliminary paper, announced to the National Malaria Committee his belief that the red blood corpuscles of man were susceptible to infection by malaria parasites only while in the reticulocyte stage. This hypothesis he based primarily on two observations which he had made during the examination of blood specimens. The first was the multiple infection of erythrocytes with Plasmodium vivax; and second, the ratio of infected young red blood cells (reticulocytes) to that of infected mature cells, which, for example, was 23.0 to 1.8 per cent in one of his counts.

Considering that normally the reticulocytes constitute approximately only from ½ to 1½ per cent of the total number of red blood cells found in the peripheral circulation, this relatively high infection percentage, coupled with the observed multiple infected erythrocytes, indicated to Eaton a restriction of red cell susceptibility and pointed to the reticulocyte as the natural cell host of the malaria parasite.