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Suppression of Plasmodium cynomolgi in Rhesus Macaques by Coinfection with Babesia microti
- van Duivenvoorde, Leonie M., Voorberg-van der Wel, Annemarie, van der Werff, Nicole M., Braskamp, Gerco, Remarque, Edmond J., Kondova, Ivanela, Kocken, Clemens H.M., Thomas, Alan W.
- Infection and immunity 2010 v.78 no.3 pp. 1032-1039
- Babesia microti, C-reactive protein, Macaca mulatta, Plasmodium cynomolgi, Plasmodium vivax, blood serum, disease control, hosts, humans, immunopathology, inflammation, malaria, mixed infection, monkeys, monocytes, parasitemia, parasites
- Both Plasmodium and Babesia species are intraerythrocytic protozoans that infect a wide range of hosts, including humans, and they elicit similar inflammatory responses and clinical manifestations that differ markedly in severity. We recently reported that a rhesus macaque that was chronically infected with Babesia microti was able to control infection with Plasmodium cynomolgi (a parasite of macaques with characteristics very similar to those of Plasmodium vivax) better than naïve monkeys. To confirm this and to investigate the underlying immunopathology, six naïve rhesus monkeys were infected with B. microti. After 24 days, four of these monkeys and four naïve rhesus monkeys were challenged with P. cynomolgi blood-stage parasites. B. microti persisted at low levels in all monkeys, and the clinical parameters were comparable to those of noninfected controls. There was a significant decrease in P. cynomolgi parasitemia in animals coinfected with B. microti compared to the parasitemia in animals infected with P. cynomolgi alone. This decrease in P. cynomolgi parasitemia correlated with increases in the levels of proinflammatory monocytes at the time of P. cynomolgi infection and with higher C-reactive protein (CRP) serum levels 1 week after malaria infection. Therefore, we conclude that ongoing infection with B. microti parasites leads to suppression of malaria infection.