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Early Detection Of Cerebral Malaria Possible, Animal Study Indicates

Date:
February 19, 2008
Source:
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Summary:
Cerebral malaria kills over 3 million individuals a year. One of the main causes of disease is the adherence of blood cells known as platelets to small blood vessels in the brain. Currently, platelet accumulation can only be detected after the clinical signs of the disease are visible. However, researchers have now developed a new agent that enables platelet accumulation to be detected in the mouse brain before the clinical signs of disease are visible.
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Cerebral malaria (CM), which kills over 3 million individuals a year, is caused by infection with Plasmodium falciparum. One of the main causes of disease symptoms is the adherence of blood cells known as platelets to the small blood vessels (microvasculature) in the brain.

Currently there is no way to detect such platelet accumulation until after the clinical signs of the disease are visible. However, a new way to detect platelet accumulation in the microvasculature of the mouse brain has now been developed by Daniel Anthony and colleagues at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

In the study, a protein (known as a single-chain antibody) that specifically binds a region of the GPIIb/IIIa receptor that is expressed only on activated platelets was attached to microparticles of iron oxide.

Using this contrast reagent, it was possible to detect by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) activated platelets in the brain of mice 6 days after they were infected with Plasmodium berghei.

At this time point after infection, clinical symptoms of the disease had not appeared and activated platelets in the brain could not be detected by conventional MRI.

These data led the authors to suggest that targeted contrast reagents similar to the one described in their study might prove useful for diagnostic, mechanistic, and therapeutic analyses.

Journal reference: A contrast agent recognizing activated platelets reveals murine cerebral malaria pathology undetectable by conventional MRI. Journal of Clinical Investigation. February 14, 2008.


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Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Early Detection Of Cerebral Malaria Possible, Animal Study Indicates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080215103259.htm>.
Journal of Clinical Investigation. (2008, February 19). Early Detection Of Cerebral Malaria Possible, Animal Study Indicates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 24, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080215103259.htm
Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Early Detection Of Cerebral Malaria Possible, Animal Study Indicates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080215103259.htm (accessed May 24, 2015).

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