A retinal model of cerebral malaria

19.03...

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A retinal model of cerebral malaria

Malaria retinopathy is an ocular manifestation often associated with cerebral malaria, and presumably shares a substantial part of its pathophysiology.

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. F. Paquet-Durand

Malaria is a causative factor in about 500.000 deaths each year world-wide. Cerebral malaria is a particularly severe complication of this disease and thus associated with an exceedingly high mortality. Malaria retinopathy is an ocular manifestation often associated with cerebral malaria, and presumably shares a substantial part of its pathophysiology.

Here, we describe that indeed murine malaria retinopathy reproduced the main hallmarks of the corresponding human disease. In the living animal, we were able to follow the circulation and cellular localization of malaria parasites transgenically labelled with GFP via non-invasive in vivo retinal imaging. We found that malaria parasites cross the blood-retinal-barrier and infiltrate the neuroretina, concomitant with an extensive, irreversible, and long-lasting retinal neurodegeneration.

Furthermore, anti-malarial treatment with dihydroartemisinin strongly diminished the load of circulating parasites but resolved the symptoms of the retinopathy only in part. In summary, we introduce here a novel preclinical model for human cerebral malaria that is much more directly accessible for studies into disease pathophysiology and development of novel treatment approaches. In vivo retinal imaging may furthermore serve as a valuable tool for the early diagnosis of the human disease.

Original Publication:

A retinal model of cerebral malaria.
Paquet-Durand F, Beck SC, Das S, Huber G, Le Chang, Schubert T, Tanimoto N, Garcia-Garrido M, Mühlfriedel R, Bolz S, Hoffmann W, Schraermeyer U, Mordmüller B, Seeliger MW.
Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 5;9(1):3470. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-39143-z.
PMID: 30837488

Contact:

Prof. Dr. rer. nat. F. Paquet-Durand
Cell Death Mechanism Group
Institute for Ophthalmic Research
University of Tuebingen
Elfriede Aulhorn Straße 5-7, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany
e-mail: francois.paquet-durand[at]uni-tuebingen.de