Iranian Journal of Parasitology 2013. 8(4):499-509.

Myocardial Dysfunction: A Primary Cause of Death Due To Severe Malaria in A Plasmodium falciparum-Infected Humanized Mouse Model.
Odaro Stanley Imade, Faith Iguodala Akinnibosun, Bankole Henry Oladeinde, Osaro Iyekowa


Background: Our study aimed at substantiating the recent claim of myo-cardial complications in severe malaria by experimentally inducing severe Plasmodium falciparum infection in a humanized mouse model employed as human surrogate.

Methods: Twenty five humanized mice were inoculated with standard in vitro cultured P. falciparum and blood extracts collected from the inner cardiac muscles of infected mice that died were examined for the presence of the infectious cause of death. The therapeutic effect of quinine on 7 mice se-verely infected with P. falciparum was also evaluated.

Results: All the 25 humanized mice inoculated with the in vitro cultured P. falciparum revealed peripheral parasitemia with a total of 10 deaths recorded. Postmortem examination of the inner cardiac muscles of the dead mice also revealed massive sequestration of mature P. falciparum as well as significant infiltration of inflammatory cells such as lymphocytes and monocytes. Post-mortem evaluation of the inner cardiac muscles of the P. falciparum-infected mice after quinine therapy showed significant decline in parasite density with no death of mice recorded.

Conclusions: Data obtained from our study significantly corroborated the findings of myocardial dysfunction as the primary cause of death in recent case reports of humans infected with P. falciparum.


Humanized; Immunosuppressed; Myocardial; Parasitemia; Therapy

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