Encyclopedia of Parasitology

Living Edition
| Editors: Heinz Mehlhorn


  • Caroline Lin Lin Chua
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-27769-6_1826-2


Latin: malus = bad, aria = air.


Plasmodium spp. parasitize the red blood cells, which are metabolized during the schizogonic cycle, leaving pigment granules. Reticular and endothelial cells phagocytize red blood cell fragments and accumulate malarial pigment. P. vivax and P. ovale predominantly infect the relatively scarce young red blood cells, thus restricting the level of parasitemia. P. falciparum and P. malariae infect mature cells, a few or many of which may be infected, often resulting in anemia. Red blood cells parasitized with P. falciparum are sequestrated in capillaries of internal organs by knobs on their surface reacting with receptors on the vascular endothelium, thereby causing tissue anoxia. This is particularly serious in the brain (pathology/Fig. 15), where endothelial cells die and capillaries break, giving rise to multiple petechial hemorrhages. Brain anoxia leads to edema and coma, which may be fatal in a few hours. Occasionally glial reactions are...


Cerebral Malaria Malaria Vaccine Infected Erythrocyte Merozoite Surface Protein Apical Membrane Antigen 
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Further Reading

  1. Anstey N et al (2009) The pathophysiology of vivax malaria. Trends Parasitol 25:220–227CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Carlton J et al (2008) Comparative genomics of the neglected human malaria parasite Plasmodium vivax. Nature 455:757–763CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Carlton J et al (2009) Comparative evolutionary genomics of human malaria parasites. Trends Parasitol 24:545–550CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Galinski M, Barnwell J (2009) Monkey malaria kills four humans. Trends Parasitol 25:200–204CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Gardner MJ et al (2002) Genome sequence of human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Nature 419:489–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Greenwood B et al (2008) Malaria: progress, perils and prospects for eradication. J Clin Invest 118:1266–1276CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  7. Mueller I et al (2007) Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium ovale, the “bashful” malaria parasites. Trends Parasitol 23:278–283CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Skinner-Adams TS et al (2008) HIV and malaria coinfection: interactions and consequences of chemotherapy. Trends Parasitol 24:264–271CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Tilley C et al (2007) Illuminating Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cells. Trends Parasitol 23:268–277CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Wellems T, Plowe C (2001) Chloroquin-resistant malaria. J Infect Dis 184:770–776CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. WHO (2013) World malaria report 2013Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicine (Royal Melbourne Hospital)The University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia