A longitudinal study of seroreactivities to Plasmodium falciparum antigens in Nigerian infants during their first year of life

Acta Trop. 1995 May;59(2):173-83. doi: 10.1016/0001-706x(95)00076-q.


The kinetics of passively transferred maternal antibodies to antigens of Plasmodium falciparum and the dynamics of acquisition of these antibodies during the first year of life was investigated in infants born in a malaria endemic area of south-western Nigeria. Blood samples were collected from the infants at bi-monthly follow-up visits for the analysis of total serum immunoglobulin G, IgM, IgA and antibodies to the antigen Pf155/RESA and against synthetic peptides representing antigenic sequences of the blood stage antigen Pf155/RESA and Ag332 or the circumsporozoite protein (CSP). IgG levels fell from birth till 4 months and a steady rise was observed thereafter till ten months of life. On the contrary mean IgM and IgA levels increased throughout the first year of life. Generally the number of infants positive for antibodies to the antigens under investigation fell from birth and between 4-6 months of age was either low or absent. None of the infants were positive for antibodies to the peptide representing Ag332 during the first year of life. The earliest seroconversion was detected at 6 months of age involving the Pf155/RESA and (NANP)6 antigens. The results indicate a high level of exposure in this study area to malaria infection early in life. The finding of an active antibody response to malarial antigens in infancy encourages the hope that a malaria vaccine administered early in life may accelerate the development of naturally acquired immunity and thus protect the population most at risk.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood*
  • Antigens, Protozoan / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Maternally-Acquired / immunology*
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes / blood
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Kinetics
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Malaria, Falciparum / immunology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nigeria
  • Peptide Fragments / chemical synthesis
  • Peptide Fragments / immunology
  • Plasmodium falciparum / immunology*
  • Protozoan Proteins / immunology


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • Antigens, Protozoan
  • Immunoglobulin Isotypes
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Protozoan Proteins
  • circumsporozoite protein, Protozoan
  • ring-infected erythrocyte surface antigen (RESA), Plasmodium falciparum
  • antigen Pf332, Plasmodium