Plasmodium falciparum: attenuation by irradiation

Exp Parasitol. 1983 Dec;56(3):339-45. doi: 10.1016/0014-4894(83)90079-6.


The effect of irradiation on the in vitro growth of Plasmodium falciparum was investigated. The cultured malarial parasites at selected stages of development were exposed to gamma rays and the sensitivity of each stage was determined. The stages most sensitive to irradiation were the ring forms and the early trophozoites; late trophozoites were relatively insensitive. The greatest resistance was shown when parasites were irradiated at a time of transition from the late trophozoite and schizont stages to young ring forms. The characteristics of radiosensitive variation in the parasite cycle resembled that of mammalian cells. Growth curves of parasites exposed to doses of irradiation upto 150 gray had the same slope as nonirradiated controls but parasites which were exposed to 200 gray exhibited a growth curve which was less steep than that for parasites in other groups. Less than 10 organisms survived from the 10(6) parasites exposed to this high dose of irradiation; the possibility exists of obtaining radiation-attenuated P. falciparum.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Erythrocytes / parasitology
  • Gamma Rays
  • Humans
  • Hydroxyurea / pharmacology
  • Plasmodium falciparum / drug effects
  • Plasmodium falciparum / growth & development
  • Plasmodium falciparum / radiation effects*
  • Sorbitol / pharmacology


  • Sorbitol
  • Hydroxyurea