In vitro culture of Plasmodium falciparum gametocytes is essential for studying sexual development of the parasite. Here we describe a simple method for producing synchronous gametocyte culture without contamination of asexual stages. This method employs heparin's activity in blocking merozoite invasion of erythrocytes to eliminate asexual stage parasites from gametocyte culture. We show that following induction of gametocyte formation, addition of heparin in culture medium for four days effectively eliminates asexual stages and produces pure, synchronous cultures of gametocytes. Compared with the commonly used N-acetylglucosamine treatment method, heparin treatment requires shorter time to eliminate asexual stages and causes significantly less hemolysis in late stage gametocyte cultures.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Infectious Diseases