Cutting Edge: Plasmodium falciparum Induces Trained Innate Immunity

J Immunol. 2018 Feb 15;200(4):1243-1248. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1701010. Epub 2018 Jan 12.


Malarial infection in naive individuals induces a robust innate immune response. In the recently described model of innate immune memory, an initial stimulus primes the innate immune system to either hyperrespond (termed training) or hyporespond (tolerance) to subsequent immune challenge. Previous work in both mice and humans demonstrated that infection with malaria can both serve as a priming stimulus and promote tolerance to subsequent infection. In this study, we demonstrate that initial stimulation with Plasmodium falciparum-infected RBCs or the malaria crystal hemozoin induced human adherent PBMCs to hyperrespond to subsequent ligation of TLR2. This hyperresponsiveness correlated with increased H3K4me3 at important immunometabolic promoters, and these epigenetic modifications were also seen in Kenyan children naturally infected with malaria. However, the use of epigenetic and metabolic inhibitors indicated that the induction of trained immunity by malaria and its ligands may occur via a previously unrecognized mechanism(s).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / immunology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology
  • Histones / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / immunology*
  • Infant
  • Malaria, Falciparum / immunology*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / metabolism
  • Male


  • Histones