Serum IgG3 to the Plasmodium falciparum merozoite surface protein 2 is strongly associated with a reduced prospective risk of malaria

Parasite Immunol. 2003 Jun;25(6):307-12. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-3024.2003.00636.x.


The merozoite surface protein 2 (MSP2) of Plasmodium falciparum is recognized by human antibodies elicited during natural infections, and may be a target of protective immunity. In this prospective study, serum IgG antibodies to MSP2 were determined in a cohort of 329 Gambian children immediately before the annual malaria transmission season, and the incidence of clinical malaria in the following 5 months was monitored. Three recombinant MSP2 antigens were used, representing each of the two major allelic serogroups and a conserved region. The prevalence of serum IgG to each antigen correlated positively with age and with the presence of parasitaemia at the time of sampling. These antibodies were associated with a reduced subsequent incidence of clinical malaria during the follow-up. This trend was seen for both IgG1 and IgG3, although the statistical significance was greater for IgG3, the most common subclass against MSP2. After adjusting for potentially confounding effects of age and pre-season parasitaemia, IgG3 reactivities against each of the major serogroups of MSP2 remained significantly associated with a lower prospective risk of clinical malaria. Individuals who had IgG3 reactivity to both of the MSP2 serogroup antigens had an even more significantly reduced risk. Importantly, this effect remained significant after adjusting for a simultaneous strong protective association of antibodies to another antigen (MSP1 block 2) which itself remained highly significant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / immunology*
  • Antigens, Protozoan / genetics
  • Antigens, Protozoan / immunology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Susceptibility / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Escherichia coli / genetics
  • Gambia
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin G / immunology*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / immunology*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / prevention & control
  • Parasitemia / immunology
  • Plasmodium falciparum / genetics
  • Plasmodium falciparum / immunology*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prospective Studies
  • Protozoan Proteins / genetics
  • Protozoan Proteins / immunology*
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / immunology


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Antigens, Protozoan
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • merozoite surface protein 2, Plasmodium