Naturally acquired antibody responses to plasmodium vivax and plasmodium falciparum Merozoite Surface Protein 1 (MSP1) C-Terminal 19 kDa domains in an area of unstable malaria transmission in Southeast Asia

Qinghui Wang, Zhenjun Zhao, Xuexing Zhang, Xuelian Li, Min Zhu, Peipei Li, Zhaoqing Yang, Ying Wang, Guiyun Yan, Hong Shang, Yaming Cao, Qi Fan, Liwang Cui

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13 Scopus citations


Understanding naturally acquired immunity to infections caused by Plasmodia in different malaria endemicity settings is needed for better vaccine designs and for exploring antibody responses as a proxy marker of malaria transmission intensity. This study investigated the sero-epidemiology of malaria along the international border between China and Myanmar, where malaria elimination action plans are in place. This study recruited 233 P. vivax and 156 P. falciparum infected subjects with acute malaria at the malaria clinics and hospitals. In addition, 93 and 67 healthy individuals from the same endemic region or from nonendemic region, respectively, were used as controls. Acute malaria infections were identified by microscopy. Anti-recombinant PfMSP119 and PvMSP119 antibody levels were measured by ELISA. Antibody responses to respective MSP119 were detected in 50.9% and 78.2% patients with acute P. vivax and P. falciparum infections, respectively. There were cross-reacting antibodies in Plasmodium patients against these two recombinant proteins, though we could not exclude the possibility of submicroscopic mixed-species infections. IgG1, IgG3 and IgG4 were the major subclasses. Interestingly, 43.2% of the healthy endemic population also had antibodies against PfMSP119, whereas only 3.9% of this population had antibodies against PvMSP119. Higher antibody levels were correlated with age and parasite density, but not with season, gender or malaria history. Both total IgG and individual IgG subclasses underwent substantial declines during the convalescent period in three months. This study demonstrated that individuals in a hypoendemic area with coexistence of P. vivax and P. falciparum can mount rapid antibody responses against both PfMSP119 and PvMSP119. The significantly higher proportion of responders to PfMSP119 in the healthy endemic population indicates higher prevalence of P. falciparum in the recent past. Specific antibodies against PvMSP119 could serve as a marker of recent exposure to P. vivax in epidemiological studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0151900
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2016


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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