Malaria is a worldwide health problem leading the death of millions of people. The disease is induced by different species of protozoa parasites from the genus Plasmodium. In humans, Plasmodium falciparum is the most dangerous species responsible for severe disease. Despite all efforts to establish the pathogenesis of malaria, it is far from being fully understood. In addition, resistance to existing drugs has developed in several strains and the development of new effective compounds to fight these parasites is a major issue. Recent discoveries indicate the potential role of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) in malaria infection. Angiotensin receptors have not been described in the parasite genome, however several reports in the literature suggest a direct effect of angiotensin-derived peptides on different aspects of the host-parasite interaction. The aim of this review is to highlight new findings on the involvement of the RAS in parasite development and in the regulation of the host immune response in an attempt to expand our knowledge of the pathogenesis of this disease.
Keywords: Plasmodium falciparum; T cells; erythrocytes; host-cell interaction; immune response; invasion; malaria; renin-angiotensin system.