Possible new compound for treatment of cerebral malaria

08/17/05



Binding of red blood cells infected with the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, to human brain endothelial cells. (Grau et al.)
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In a paper published online in PLoS Medicine researchers from Marseille describe the effects of a new compound that may be a future treatment for patients with cerebral malaria. The compound¡XLMP-420¡Xinhibits two of the molecules produced in the brain when affected by cerebral malaria.

Cerebral malaria is a complication that can occur in malaria caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum. In cerebral malaria, the parasites infect the red blood cells that accumulate within the very small capillaries that flow through the tissues of the brain. Even when treated, cerebral malaria has a fatality rate of 15% or more.

Using an in vitro model of cerebral malaria, the researchers, led by George Grau, found that LMP-420 potently reduced the activation of endothelial cells (cells that line the small blood vessels), how well malaria-infected red blood cells stuck to these endothelial cells, and the release of micro particles from the same cells¡Xthree major features of cerebral malaria.

The authors caution that the experimental in vitro results do not necessarily predict potential efficacy in either animal models or humans, especially since in their model the LMP-420 had to be given before the disease process was established. Nevertheless, this avenue of research is a promising one to explore further.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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