Effects of pregnancy and intensity of Plasmodium falciparum transmission on immunoglobulin G subclass responses to variant surface antigens

Rosette Megnekou, Trine Staalsoe, Diane W Taylor, Rose Leke, Lars Hviid

Abstract

Placenta-sequestering Plasmodium falciparum involved in the pathogenesis of pregnancy-associated malaria (PAM) in otherwise clinically immune women expresses particular variant surface antigens (VSA(PAM)) on the surface of infected erythrocytes that differ from VSA found in parasitized nonpregnant individuals (non-PAM type VSA). We studied levels of immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgG subclasses with specificity for VSA(PAM) and for non-PAM type VSA in pregnant and nonpregnant women from two sites with different endemicities in Cameroon. We found that VSA(PAM)-specific responses depended on the pregnancy status, parity, gestational age, and parasite transmission intensity, whereas only the parasite transmission intensity influenced the levels of IgG specific for non-PAM type VSA. For both types of VSA, the responses were dominated by the cytophilic subclass IgG1, followed by IgG3. In pregnant women, the levels of VSA(PAM)-specific antibodies either were very low or negative or were very high, whereas the levels of the antibodies specific for non-PAM type VSA were uniformly high. Interestingly, the levels of VSA(PAM)-specific IgG1 increased with increasing gestational age, while the levels of the corresponding IgG3 tended to decrease with increasing gestational age. The IgG subclass responses with specificity for non-PAM type VSA did not vary significantly with gestational age. Taken together, our data indicate that IgG1 and to a lesser extent IgG3 are the main subclasses involved in acquired VSA(PAM)-specific immunity to pregnancy-associated malaria.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInfection and Immunity
Volume73
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)4112-8
Number of pages7
ISSN0019-9567
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2005
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Protozoan/blood
  • Antigens, Protozoan/immunology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G/blood
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical
  • Malaria, Falciparum/immunology
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic/immunology

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