Cerebral malaria and developmental biology: making parasites grow-up

Med Hypotheses. 2001 Jul;57(1):112-4. doi: 10.1054/mehy.2001.1356.


Erythrocytes infected with the protozoan parasite Plasmodium falciparum, in the final stages of asexual development, sequester and adhere to the lining of capillaries in the brain; killing 1-3 million (mostly children under the age of 5) each year. I will argue here that the rapidly evolving tools of developmental biology be employed to find a way of inducing gametocytogenesis, thereby making the parasite 'grow-up' prematurely, and in large numbers alleviating the severe symptoms in the brain.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Malaria, Cerebral / parasitology*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / parasitology*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / growth & development*