Evidence of promiscuous endothelial binding by Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes

Cell Microbiol. 2014 May;16(5):701-8. doi: 10.1111/cmi.12270. Epub 2014 Feb 24.


The adhesion of infected red blood cells (iRBCs) to human endothelium is considered a key event in the pathogenesis of cerebral malaria and other life-threatening complications caused by the most prevalent malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. In the past 30 years, 14 endothelial receptors for iRBCs have been identified. Exposing 10 additional surface proteins of endothelial cells to a mixture of P. falciparum isolates from three Ghanaian malaria patients, we identified seven new iRBC receptors, all expressed in brain vessels. This finding strongly suggests that endothelial binding of P. falciparum iRBCs is promiscuous and may use a combination of endothelial surface moieties.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Adhesion*
  • Endothelial Cells / physiology*
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology*
  • Erythrocytes / physiology*
  • Ghana
  • Humans
  • Plasmodium falciparum / growth & development*
  • Plasmodium falciparum / isolation & purification
  • Plasmodium falciparum / parasitology