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The Fate of the Red Cells: Insights from Two Models of Severe Malarial Anemia

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Technical Report

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Uniformed Services University Of The Health Sciences Bethesda United States

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Malaria, a disease caused by an intracellular parasite of the genus Plasmodium, causes 350-500 million cases annually with 1-2 million deaths. The majority of these deaths occur in children in sub-Saharan Africa due to complications of P. falciparum infection, such as severe malarial anemia SMA. The pathogenesis of SMA is complex and not well understood however, it is known that there is greater destruction of red cells than can be accounted for by the parasite alone. The question of what is happening to the uninfected red cells remains unanswered. We therefore investigated the pathogenesis of SMA by studying the fate of uninfected red cells in two different mouse models. Based on findings in patients with SMA showing an acquired deficiency in complement regulatory proteins and increased susceptibility to complement, we emphasized investigating the role of complement and complement regulatory proteins in the development of SMA.

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