Improved Synchronous Production of Plasmodium Falciparum Gametocytes in Vitro

Mol Biochem Parasitol. 2007 Jul;154(1):119-23. doi: 10.1016/j.molbiopara.2007.04.008. Epub 2007 Apr 20.


The sexual stages of the Plasmodium falciparum life cycle are attractive targets for vaccines and transmission blocking drugs. Difficulties in culturing and obtaining large amounts of sexual stage P. falciparum parasites, particularly early stages, have often limited research progress in this area. We present a new protocol which simplifies the process of stimulating gametocytogenesis leading to improved synchronous gametocyte production. This new method can be adapted to enrich for early stage gametocytes (I and II) with a higher degree of purity than has previously been achieved, using MACS magnetic affinity columns. The protocol described lends itself to large scale culturing and harvesting of synchronous parasites suitable for biochemical assays, northern blots, flow cytometry, microarrays and proteomic analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Separation / methods*
  • Life Cycle Stages
  • Plasmodium falciparum / growth & development*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / isolation & purification*