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VAR2CSA-Mediated Host Defense Evasion of Plasmodium falciparum Infected Erythrocytes in Placental Malaria

Abstract : Over 30 million women living in P. falciparum endemic areas are at risk of developing malaria during pregnancy every year. Placental malaria is characterized by massive accumulation of infected erythrocytes in the intervillous space of the placenta, accompanied by infiltration of immune cells, particularly monocytes. The consequent local inflammation and the obstruction of the maternofetal exchanges can lead to severe clinical outcomes for both mother and child. Even if protection against the disease can gradually be acquired following successive pregnancies, the malaria parasite has developed a large panel of evasion mechanisms to escape from host defense mechanisms and manipulate the immune system to its advantage. Infected erythrocytes isolated from placentas of women suffering from placental malaria present a unique phenotype and express the pregnancy-specific variant VAR2CSA of the Plasmodium falciparum Erythrocyte Membrane Protein (PfEMP1) family at their surface. The polymorphic VAR2CSA protein is able to mediate the interaction of infected erythrocytes with a variety of host cells including placental syncytiotrophoblasts and leukocytes but also with components of the immune system such as non-specific IgM. This review summarizes the described VAR2CSA-mediated host defense evasion mechanisms employed by the parasite during placental malaria to ensure its survival and persistence.
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Contributor : Benoit Gamain Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, April 29, 2021 - 11:34:22 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, April 7, 2022 - 1:58:32 PM


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Alice Tomlinson, Jean-Philippe Semblat, Benoît Gamain, Arnaud Chêne. VAR2CSA-Mediated Host Defense Evasion of Plasmodium falciparum Infected Erythrocytes in Placental Malaria. Frontiers in Immunology, Frontiers, 2021, 11, pp.624126. ⟨10.3389/fimmu.2020.624126⟩. ⟨inserm-03212016⟩



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