Plasmodium falciparum cytoadherence to human placenta: Evaluation of hyaluronic acid and chondroitin 4-sulfate for binding of infected erythrocytes

Manojkumar Valiyaveettil, Rajeshwara N. Achur, Abdulnaser Alkhalil, Christian F. Ockenhouse, D. Channe Gowda

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Chondroitin 4-sulfate (C4S) is known to mediate the adherence of Plasmodium falciparum infected red blood cells (IRBCs) to human placenta. Recently, hyaluronic acid (HA) has also been reported to bind IRBCs, and HA has been suggested as an additional receptor for the sequestration of IRBCs in the placenta. In this study, we assessed the adherence of 3D7 parasite strain, which has been reported to bind both C4S and HA, using highly purified clinical grade rooster comb HA, Streptococcus HA, several preparations of human umbilical cord HA (hucHA), and bovine vitreous humor HA (bvhHA). While all hucHA preparations and bvhHA bound with moderate to high density to IRBCs, the rooster comb and bacterial HAs did not bind IRBCs. IRBCs binding to the hucHA and bvhHA could be abolished by pretreatment with testicular hyaluronidase but not with Streptomyces hyalurolyticus hyaluronidase, suggesting that IRBC binding to hucHA and bvhHA was due to chondroitin sulfate (CS) contaminants in HAs. Compositional analysis confirmed the presence of CS in both hucHA and bvhHA. The CSs present in these commercial hucHA and bvhHA samples were isolated, characterized, and studied for their ability to bind IRBCs. The data suggested that IRBC adherence to hucHA and bvhHA was mediated by the CS present in these samples. However, our data did not exclude the possibility of a minor population of distinct parasite subtype adhering to HA and further studies using pure HA conjugated to proteins or lipids and placental parasite isolates should clarify whether HA is an in vivo receptor for IRBC adherence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalExperimental Parasitology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2001


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases

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