Parasitology Research

, Volume 117, Issue 8, pp 2487–2497 | Cite as

Immunization efficacy of cryopreserved genetically attenuated Plasmodium berghei sporozoites

  • Henriette Prinz
  • Julia M. Sattler
  • Alison Roth
  • Johanna Ripp
  • John H. Adams
  • Friedrich Frischknecht
Original Paper


Malaria is transmitted through the injection of Plasmodium sporozoites into the skin by Anopheles mosquitoes. The parasites first replicate within the liver before infecting red blood cells, which leads to the symptoms of the disease. Experimental immunization with attenuated sporozoites that arrest their development in the liver has been extensively investigated in rodent models and humans. Recent technological advances have included the capacity to cryopreserve sporozoites for injection, which has enabled a series of controlled studies on human infection with sporozoites. Here, we used a cryopreservation protocol to test the efficiency of genetically attenuated cryopreserved sporozoites for immunization of mice in comparison with freshly isolated controls. This showed that cryopreserved sporozoites are highly viable as judged by their capacity to migrate in vitro but show only 20% efficiency in liver infection, which impacts their capacity to generate protection of animals in immunization experiments.


Liver stages Protection Malaria 



We thank Christian Sommerauer and Miriam Reinig for rearing mosquitoes and Mirko Singer for comments on the manuscript. The work was funded by grants from the German Research Foundation (SFB 1129, FR 2140/6-1), the Human Frontier Science Program (RGY0066), and the Volkswagen Foundation to FF.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Integrative Parasitology, Center for Infectious DiseasesHeidelberg University Medical SchoolHeidelbergGermany
  2. 2.Department of Global Health, College of Public HealthUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA

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