An In Vitro Model for Measuring Immune Responses to Malaria in the Context of HIV Co-infection

J Vis Exp. 2015 Oct 6:(104):52969. doi: 10.3791/52969.


Malaria and HIV co-infection is a growing health priority. However, most research on malaria or HIV currently focuses on each infection individually. Although understanding the disease dynamics for each of these pathogens independently is vital, it is also important that the interactions between these pathogens are investigated and understood. We have developed a versatile in vitro model of HIV-malaria co-infection to study host immune responses to malaria in the context of HIV infection. Our model allows the study of secreted factors in cellular supernatants, cell surface and intracellular protein markers, as well as RNA expression levels. The experimental design and methods used limit variability and promote data reliability and reproducibility. All pathogens used in this model are natural human pathogens (Plasmodium falciparum and HIV-1), and all infected cells are naturally infected and used fresh. We use human erythrocytes parasitized with P. falciparum and maintained in continuous in vitro culture. We obtain freshly isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells from chronically HIV-infected volunteers. Every condition used has an appropriate control (P. falciparum parasitized vs. normal erythrocytes), and every HIV-infected donor has an HIV uninfected control, from which cells are harvested on the same day. This model provides a realistic environment to study the interactions between malaria parasites and human immune cells in the context of HIV infection.

Publication types

  • Video-Audio Media

MeSH terms

  • Coinfection / blood
  • Coinfection / immunology
  • Coinfection / parasitology
  • Coinfection / virology
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / blood
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / parasitology*
  • HIV-1 / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / parasitology
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / virology
  • Malaria, Falciparum / blood
  • Malaria, Falciparum / immunology*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / virology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Plasmodium falciparum / isolation & purification*
  • Reproducibility of Results