Electron microscopic features of brain edema in rodent cerebral malaria in relation to glial fibrillary acidic protein expression

Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2014 Apr 15;7(5):2056-67. eCollection 2014.


The mechanisms leading to cerebral malaria (CM) are not completely understood. Brain edema has been suggested as having an important role in experimental CM. In this study, CBA/CaH mice were infected with Plasmodium berghei ANKA blood-stage and when typical symptoms of CM developed on day 7, brain tissues were processed for electron-microscopic and immunohistochemical studies. The study demonstrated ultrastructural hallmarks of cerebral edema by perivascular edema and astroglial dilatation confirming existing evidence of vasogenic and cytogenic edema. This correlates closely with the clinical features of CM. An adaptive response of astrocytic activity, represented by increasing glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) expression in the perivascular area and increasing numbers of large astrocyte clusters were predominately found in the CM mice. The presence of multivesicular and lamellar bodies indicates the severity of cerebral damage in experimental CM. Congestion of the microvessels with occluded white blood cells (WBCs), parasitized red blood cells (PRBCs) and platelets is also a crucial covariate role for CM pathogenesis.

Keywords: Electron microscope; brain edema; glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP); rodent cerebral malaria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Astrocytes / parasitology
  • Astrocytes / ultrastructure
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Brain / parasitology
  • Brain / ultrastructure*
  • Brain Edema / metabolism*
  • Brain Edema / parasitology
  • Brain Edema / pathology*
  • Dilatation, Pathologic
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / metabolism*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Malaria, Cerebral / metabolism*
  • Malaria, Cerebral / parasitology
  • Malaria, Cerebral / pathology*
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Microscopy, Electron, Transmission*
  • Microvessels / metabolism
  • Microvessels / parasitology
  • Microvessels / ultrastructure
  • Plasmodium berghei / pathogenicity
  • Time Factors


  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein