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An in vitro model of Plasmodium falciparum-infected red blood cell sequestration which uses C32 amelanotic melanoma cells as targets has been used to examine the binding capacity of infected red blood cells from subjects with naturally acquired P. falciparum infections of varying severity. The binding of infected red blood cells (IRBCs) to melanoma cells was specific to cells containing mature parasites. Variations in target cell density and in conditions of growth had significant effects on binding. Binding was pH dependent, being maximum at a pH of 6.9. Using standardized conditions the binding capacity of individual isolates of P. falciparum could be measured with a high degree of reproducibility. Binding capacity of IRBCs from 51 subjects between the ages of 6 months and 15 years varied between 12 and 1254 IRBCs per 100 melanoma cells when RBC suspensions at a 1% parasitemia and 4% hematocrit were used. Variation in binding was not related to the level of peripheral parasitemia of the isolate or to differences in adaptation to culture conditions. The binding capacity of parasitized cells from subjects with cerebral malaria did not differ from that of IRBCs from subjects with less serious clinical manifestations.

Original publication




Journal article


Exp Parasitol

Publication Date





202 - 208


Adolescent, Animals, Brain Diseases, Cells, Cultured, Child, Child, Preschool, Erythrocytes, Humans, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Infant, Malaria, Melanoma, Plasmodium falciparum, Tumor Cells, Cultured