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<ns7:p><ns7:bold>Background: </ns7:bold>Exagerated immune activation has a key role in the pathogenesis of malaria<ns7:bold>. </ns7:bold>During blood-stage infection, <ns7:italic>Plasmodium falciparum</ns7:italic> can interact directly with host immune cells through infected red blood cells (<ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>iRBCs), or indirectly by the release of extracellular vesicles (EVs). Here, we compared the impact of <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>iRBCs and <ns7:italic>P. falciparum</ns7:italic> small-sized EVs (<ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>sEVs, also known as exosomes) from a Kenyan clinical isolate (<ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>KE12) adapted to short-term laboratory culture conditions on host peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC).</ns7:p><ns7:p> <ns7:bold>Methods:</ns7:bold><ns7:italic> Pf</ns7:italic>sEVs were isolated from cell-free culture-conditioned media by ultracentrifugation while mature trophozoite <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>iRBCs were purified by magnetic column separation. The <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>sEVs and the <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>iRBCs were co-cultured for 18 hours with PBMC. Cellular responses were quantified by cell surface expression of activation markers (CD25, CD69) and cytokine/chemokine levels in the supernatant.</ns7:p><ns7:p> <ns7:bold>Results:</ns7:bold> Relative to negative control conditions,<ns7:italic> Pf</ns7:italic>sEVs induced CD25 expression on CD4<ns7:sup>+</ns7:sup>, CD19<ns7:sup>+</ns7:sup> and CD14<ns7:sup>+ </ns7:sup>cells, while <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>iRBCs induced on CD19<ns7:sup>+</ns7:sup> and CD14<ns7:sup>+</ns7:sup> cells. Both <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>sEVs and <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>iRBCs induced CD69 on CD4<ns7:sup>+</ns7:sup>, CD8<ns7:sup>+</ns7:sup> and CD19<ns7:sup>+</ns7:sup> cells. In addition, <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>iRBCs induced higher expression of CD69 on CD14<ns7:sup>+</ns7:sup> cells. CD69 induced by <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>iRBCs on CD4<ns7:sup>+ </ns7:sup>and CD19<ns7:sup>+</ns7:sup> cells was significantly higher than that induced by <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>sEVs. Secretion of MIP1α, MIP1β, GM-CSF, IL-6, IL-8, and TNFα were significantly induced by both <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>sEVs and <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>iRBCs whereas MCP-1, IL-10, IL-17α  were preferentially induced by <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>sEVs and IP-10 and IFN-γ by <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>iRBCs. Prior exposure to malaria (judged by antibodies to schizont extract) was associated with lower monocyte responses to <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>sEVs.</ns7:p><ns7:p> <ns7:bold>Conclusions: </ns7:bold><ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>sEVs and <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>iRBCs showed differential abilities to induce secretion of IL-17α  and IFN-γ, suggesting that the former are better at inducing Th17, whilst  the latter induce Th1 immune responses respectively. Prior exposure to malaria significantly reduces the ability of <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>sEVs to activate monocytes, suggesting immune tolerance to <ns7:italic>Pf</ns7:italic>sEVs may play a role in naturally acquired  anti-disease immunity.</ns7:p>

Original publication




Journal article


Wellcome Open Research


F1000 Research Ltd

Publication Date





197 - 197