A single exposure to many viral and bacterial pathogens typically induces life-long immunity, however, the development of the protective immunity to Plasmodium parasites is strikingly less efficient and achieves only partial protection, with adults residing in endemic areas often experiencing asymptomatic infections. Although naturally acquired immunity to malaria requires both cell-mediated and humoral immune responses, antibodies govern the control of malarial disease caused by the blood-stage form of the parasites. A large body of epidemiological evidence described that antibodies to Plasmodium antigens are inefficiently generated and rapidly lost without continued parasite exposure, suggesting that malaria is accompanied by defects in the development of immunological B cell memory. This topic has been of focus of recent studies of malaria infection in humans and mice. This review examines the main findings to date on the processes that modulate the acquisition of memory B cell responses to malaria, and highlights the importance of closing outstanding gaps of knowledge in the field for the rational design of next generation therapeutics against malaria.
Keywords: antibodies; immunity; inflammation; malaria; memory B cells.