Plasmodium berghei bio-burden correlates with parasite lactate dehydrogenase: application to murine Plasmodium diagnostics

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De, Sai Lata
Stanisic, Danielle I
Rivera, Fabian
Batzloff, Michael R
Engwerda, Christian
Good, Michael F
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Background: The spectrum of techniques to detect malaria parasites in whole blood is limited to measuring parasites in circulation. One approach that is currently used to enumerate total parasite bio-burden involves the use of bio-luminescent parasites. As an alternative approach, this study describes the use of a commercial ELISA human parasite lactate dehydrogenase (pLDH) detection kit to estimate total parasite bio-burden in murine malaria models.

Methods: The cross reactivity of pLDH in a commercial human malaria pLDH diagnostic kit was established in different components of blood for different murine malaria models. The use of pLDH as a measure of parasite bio-burden was evaluated by examining pLDH in relation to peripheral blood parasitaemia as determined by microscopy and calculating total parasite bio-burden using a bio-luminescent Plasmodium berghei ANKA luciferase parasite.

Results: The pLDH antigen was detected in all four murine Plasmodium species and in all components of Plasmodium-infected blood. A significant correlation (r = 0.6922, P value <0.0001) was observed between total parasite bio-burden, measured as log average radiance, and concentration of pLDH units.

Conclusions: This high throughput assay is a suitable measure of total parasite bio-burden in murine malaria infections. Unlike existing methods, it permits the estimation of both circulating and sequestered parasites, allowing a more accurate assessment of parasite bio-burden.

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Malaria Journal

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© De et al. 2016. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

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