A humanized mouse model for sequestration of Plasmodium falciparum sexual stages and in vivo evaluation of gametocytidal drugs

Sci Rep. 2016 Oct 12;6:35025. doi: 10.1038/srep35025.


The development of new drugs to disrupt malaria transmission requires the establishment of an in vivo model to address the biology of Plasmodium falciparum sexual stages (gametocytes). Herein we show that chemically immune-modulated NSG mice grafted with human erythrocytes support complete sexual development of P. falciparum parasites and generate high gametocytemia. Immunohistochemistry and RT-qPCR analyses indicate an enrichment of immature gametocytes in the bone marrow and the spleen, suggesting a sequestration mechanism reminiscent to that observed in humans. Upon primaquine treatment, elimination of gametocytes from peripheral blood and from sequestration sites was observed, providing a proof of concept that these mice can be used for testing drugs. Therefore, this model allows the investigation of P. falciparum sexual commitment, gametocyte interactions with the bone marrow and spleen and provides the missing link between current in vitro assays and Phase I trials in humans for testing new malaria gametocytidal drugs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimalarials / administration & dosage*
  • Antimalarials / pharmacology
  • Bone Marrow / drug effects
  • Bone Marrow / parasitology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Erythrocytes / drug effects
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Life Cycle Stages / drug effects*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / parasitology*
  • Mice
  • Plasmodium falciparum / drug effects
  • Plasmodium falciparum / growth & development*
  • Primaquine / administration & dosage*
  • Primaquine / pharmacology
  • Spleen / drug effects
  • Spleen / parasitology


  • Antimalarials
  • Primaquine