Parasitology Research

, Volume 107, Issue 6, pp 1285–1290 | Cite as

What is the evidence for the existence of Plasmodium ovale hypnozoites?

  • Joachim RichterEmail author
  • Gabriele Franken
  • Heinz Mehlhorn
  • Alfons Labisch
  • Dieter Häussinger


Relapsing human malaria is regarded to be caused by Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale. P. vivax relapses originate from dormant liver stages: “hypnozoites”. Also, P. ovale, a species considered as closely related to P. vivax, is in analogy assumed to display hypnozoites. A close biologic relationship is, however, not supported by molecular genetic studies. Therefore, original literature published since the description of P. ovale in 1922 was systematically screened for the demonstration of hypnozoites or circumstantial evidence for their existence, i.e. the occurrence of true relapses. In P. ovale infection, hypnozoites have never been demonstrated by biological experiments, and the few reports published on relapses have conflicting results.


Malaria Plasmodium G6PD Deficiency Liver Stage Primaquine 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This work is part of a medical thesis by Gabriele Franken. We are indebted to Professor em. Wallace Peters and Professor em. Hanns Martin Seitz for taking seriously our doubts on the hypnozoite concept in P. ovale infection and giving valuable advice.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joachim Richter
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gabriele Franken
    • 2
  • Heinz Mehlhorn
    • 3
  • Alfons Labisch
    • 2
  • Dieter Häussinger
    • 1
  1. 1.Tropical Medicine Unit, University Hospital for Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Infectious Diseases, Faculty of MedicineHeinrich-Heine-UniversityDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Institute for the History of Medicine, Faculty of MedicineHeinrich-Heine-UniversityDüsseldorfGermany
  3. 3.Institute for Zoomorphology, Cellular Biology and Parasitology, Faculty of BiologyHeinrich-Heine-UniversityDüsseldorfGermany

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