Placental malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax or P. falciparum in Colombia: Histopathology and mediators in placental processes.
ABSTRACT: Knowledge about the relation of histopathological characteristics and mediators of physiological processes in the placenta malaria (PM) is poor, and that PM caused by Plasmodium vivax is almost null. The objective was to compare histopathological characteristics, cytokines and mediators of physiological processes in PM depending on the parasitic species, through a cross-sectional study in three groups: negative-PM, vivax-PM, falciparum-PM from Northwestern Colombia. The diagnosis of PM was made with thick blood smear, qPCR, and histopathology. Immuno-histochemical was made with EnVision system (Dako) and Zeiss Axio Imager M2 with light microscope. Cells in apoptosis were studied with the TUNEL technique. To measure the expression level of cytokines and mediators qRT-PCR was used. We included 179 placentas without PM and 87 with PM (53% P. vivax and 47% P. falciparum). At delivery, anemia was 25% in negative-PM, 60% in vivax-PM, and 44% in falciparum-PM group. The neonatal weight had an intense difference between groups with 3292±394g in negative-PM, 2,841±239 in vivax-PM, and 2,957±352 in falciparum-PM. The histopathological characteristics and CD+ cells in placenta with statistical differences (Dunn´s test) between negative-PM vs vivax-PM (P. falciparum was similar to P. vivax) were infarction, fibrinoid deposits, calcification, cells in apoptosis, immune infiltrates in decidua and intervillous space, CD4+, CD8+, CD14+, CD56+, CD68+. The expression levels of mediators in the placenta with statistical differences (Dunn´s test) between negative-PM vs vivax-PM (P. falciparum was similar to P. vivax) were Fas, FasL, HIF1α, Cox1, Cox2, VEGF, IL4, IL10, IFNγ, TNF, TGFβ, FOXP3, and CTLA4. PM with P. falciparum and P. vivax, damages this organ and causes significant alteration of various physiological processes, which cause maternal anemia and a reduction in neonatal weight in degrees that are statistically and clinically significant. It is necessary that the search for plasmodial infection in pregnant and placenta goes from passive to active surveillance with adequate diagnostic capacity.
Project description:Gestational malaria is a multi-factorial syndrome leading to poor outcomes for both the mother and foetus. Although an unusual increasing in the number of hospitalizations caused by Plasmodium vivax has been reported in Brazil, mortality is rarely observed. This is a report of a gestational malaria case that occurred in the city of Manaus (Amazonas State, Brazil) and resulted in foetal loss. The patient presented placental mixed-infection by Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum after diagnosis by nested-PCR, however microscopic analysis failed to detect P. falciparum in the peripheral blood. Furthermore, as the patient did not receive proper treatment for P. falciparum and hospitalization occurred soon after drug treatment, it seems that P. falciparum pathology was modulated by the concurrent presence of P. vivax. Collectively, this case confirms the tropism towards the placenta by both of these species of parasites, reinforces the notion that co-existence of distinct malaria parasites interferes on diseases' outcomes, and opens discussions regarding diagnostic methods, malaria treatment during pregnancy and prenatal care for women living in unstable transmission areas of malaria, such as the Brazilian Amazon.
Project description:Among the Plasmodium species that infect humans, adverse effects of P. falciparum and P. vivax have been extensively studied and reported with respect to poor outcomes particularly in first time mothers and in pregnant women living in areas with unstable malaria transmission. Although, other non-falciparum malaria infections during pregnancy have sometimes been reported, little is known about the dynamics of these infections during pregnancy.Using a quantitative PCR approach, blood samples collected from Beninese pregnant women during the first antenatal visit (ANV) and at delivery including placental blood were screened for Plasmodium spp. Risk factors associated with Plasmodium spp. infection during pregnancy were assessed as well as the relationships with pregnancy outcomes. P. falciparum was the most prevalent Plasmodium species detected during pregnancy, irrespective either of parity, of age or of season during which the infection occurred. Although no P. vivax infections were detected in this cohort, P. malariae (9.2%) and P. ovale (5.8%) infections were observed in samples collected during the first ANV. These non-falciparum infections were also detected in maternal peripheral blood (1.3% for P. malariae and 1.2% for P. ovale) at delivery. Importantly, higher prevalence of P. malariae (5.5%) was observed in placental than peripheral blood while that of P. ovale was similar (1.8% in placental blood). Among the non-falciparum infected pregnant women with paired peripheral and placental samples, P. malariae infections in the placental blood was significantly higher than in the peripheral blood, suggesting a possible affinity of P. malariae for the placenta. However, no assoctiation of non-falciparum infections and the pregnancy outcomes was observed.Overall this study provided insights into the molecular epidemiology of Plasmodium spp. infection during pregnancy, indicating placental infection by non-falciparum Plasmodium and the lack of association of these infections with adverse pregnancy outcomes.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Impact of the pathophysiology of Plasmodium falciparum placental malaria (PM) on the profile of some oxidative stress biomarkers and their relationship with poor pregnancy outcomes in women remain unknown.<h4>Methods</h4>Between 2013 and 2014, peripheral blood and placenta tissue from 120 Cameroonian women at delivery were assessed for maternal haemoglobin and, parasitaemia respectively. Parasite accumulation in the placenta was investigated histologically. The levels of oxidative stress biomarkers Malondialdehyde (MDA), Nitric Oxide (NO), Superoxide dismutase (SOD), Catalase (CAT) and Gluthatione (GSH) in the supernatant of teased placenta tissues were determined by Colorimetric enzymatic assays.<h4>Results</h4>Parasitaemia was inversely related to haemoglobin levels and birth weight (P <0.001 and 0.012, respectively). The level of lipid peroxide product (MDA) was significantly higher in the malaria infected (P = 0.0047) and anaemic (P = 0.024) women compared to their non-infected and non-anaemic counterparts, respectively. A similar trend was observed with SOD levels, though not significant. The levels of MDA also correlated positively with parasitaemia (P = 0.0024) but negatively with haemoglobin levels (P = 0.002). There was no association between parasitaemia, haemoglobin level and the other oxidative stress biomarkers. From histological studies, levels of MDA associated positively and significantly with placenta malaria infection and the presence of malaria pigments. The levels of SOD, NO and CAT increased with decreasing leukocyte accumulation in the intervillous space. Baby birth weight increased significantly with SOD and CAT levels, but decreased with levels of GSH.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Placental P. falciparum infection may cause oxidative stress of the placenta tissue with MDA as a potential biomarker of PM, which alongside GSH could lead to poor pregnancy outcomes (anaemia and low birth weight). This finding contributes to the understanding of the pathophysiology of P. falciparum placental malaria in women.
Project description:During pregnancy, Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes (IE) accumulate in the intervillous spaces of the placenta by binding to chondroitin sulfate A (CSA) and elicit inflammatory responses that are associated with poor pregnancy outcomes. Primigravidae lack immunity to IE that sequester in the placenta and thus are susceptible to placental malaria (PM). Women become resistant to PM over successive pregnancies as antibodies to placental IE are acquired. Here, we assayed plasma collected at delivery from Malian and Tanzanian women of different parities for total antibody levels against recombinant VAR2CSA antigens (FCR3 allele), and for surface reactivity and binding inhibition and opsonizing functional activities against IE using two CSA-binding laboratory isolates (FCR3 and NF54). Overall, antibody reactivity to VAR2CSA recombinant proteins and to CSA-binding IE was higher in multigravidae than in primigravidae. However, plasma from Malian gravid women reacted more strongly with FCR3 whereas Tanzanian plasma preferentially reacted with NF54. Further, acquisition of functional antibodies was variant dependent: binding inhibition of P. falciparum strain NF54 (P?<?0.001) but not of the strain FCR3 increased significantly with parity, while only opsonizing activity against FCR3 (P?<?0.001) increased significantly with parity. In addition, opsonizing and binding inhibition activities of plasma of multigravidae were significantly correlated in assays of FCR3 (r?=?0.4, P?=?0.01) but not of NF54 isolates; functional activities did not correlate in plasma from primigravidae. These data suggest that IE surface-expressed epitopes involved in each functional activity differ among P. falciparum strains. Consequently, geographic bias in circulating strains may impact antibody functions. Our study has implications for the development of PM vaccines aiming to achieve broad protection against various parasite strains.
Project description:In areas where Plasmodium falciparum is endemic, pregnancy is associated with accumulation of infected red blood cells (RBCs) in the placenta, a condition referred to as placental malaria (PM). Infants born to PM-positive mothers are at an increased risk of malaria, which is putatively related to the transplacental passage of parasite-derived antigens, with consequent tolerization of the fetal immune system. Here we addressed the impact of PM on the regulation of neonatal T cell responses. We found that the frequency of regulatory CD25(+) CD127(-/low) Foxp3(+) CD4(+) T cells was significantly decreased in neonates born to mothers with high levels of P. falciparum-induced placental inflammation, consisting mainly of primigravid mothers. However, at the individual level, the ratio between regulatory and effector (CD25(+) CD127(+) Foxp3(-)) CD4(+) T cells was unaffected by PM. In addition, parasite-induced CD4(+) T cell activation and production of interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α), and IL-10 were strongly reduced in neonates born to PM-positive mothers. Thus, our results show that active PM at delivery is associated with a marked suppression of P. falciparum-specific cellular neonatal immune responses, affecting secretion of both pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Additionally, our results suggest that, as in adults, effector and regulatory CD4(+) T cell populations are tightly coregulated in all neonates, irrespective of the maternal infection status.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Infection with Plasmodium falciparum during pregnancy contributes substantially to the disease burden in both mothers and offspring. Placental malaria may lead to intrauterine growth restriction or preterm delivery resulting in low birth weight (LBW), which, in general, is associated with increased infant morbidity and mortality. However, little is known about the possible direct impact of the specific disease processes occurring in PM on longer term outcomes such as subsequent retarded growth development independent of LBW.<h4>Methods</h4>In an existing West-African cohort, 783 healthy infants with a birth weight of at least 2,000 g were followed up during their first year of life. The aim of the study was to investigate if Plasmodium falciparum infection of the placenta, assessed by placental histology, has an impact on several anthropometric parameters, measured at birth and after three, six and 12 months using generalized estimating equations models adjusting for moderate low birth weight.<h4>Results</h4>Independent of LBW, first to third born infants who were exposed to either past, chronic or acute placental malaria during pregnancy had significantly lower weight-for-age (-0.43, 95% CI: -0.80;-0.07), weight-for-length (-0.47, 95% CI: -0.84; -0.10) and BMI-for-age z-scores (-0.57, 95% CI: -0.84; -0.10) compared to infants born to mothers who were not diagnosed with placental malaria (p = 0.019, 0.013, and 0.012, respectively). Interestingly, the longitudinal data on histology-based diagnosis of PM also document a sharp decline of PM prevalence in the Sukuta cohort from 16.5% in 2002 to 5.4% in 2004.<h4>Conclusions</h4>It was demonstrated that PM has a negative impact on the infant's subsequent weight development that is independent of LBW, suggesting that the longer term effects of PM have been underestimated, even in areas where malaria transmission is declining.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Placental cytokines play crucial roles in the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy as well as protecting the foetus from infections. Previous studies have suggested the implication of infections such as P. falciparum and HIV in the stimulation of placental cytokines. This study assessed the impact of P. falciparum on placental cytokine profiles between HIV-1 positive and negative women.<h4>Materials and methods</h4>P. falciparum infection was checked in peripheral and placental blood of HIV-1 negative and positive women by the thick blood smear test. Cytokines proteins and messenger RNAs were quantified by ELISA and real time PCR, respectively. Non-parametric tests were used for statistical analyses.<h4>Results</h4>Placental and peripheral P. falciparum infections were not significantly associated with HIV-1 infection (OR: 1.4; 95% confidence interval (95%CI): 0.5-4.2; p = 0.50 and OR: 0.6; 95%CI: 0.3-1.4; p = 0.26, respectively). Conversely, placental P. falciparum parasitemia was significantly higher in the HIV-1 positive group (p = 0.04). We observed an increase of TNF-alpha mRNA median levels (p = 0.02) and a trend towards a decrease of IL-10 mRNA (p = 0.07) in placenta from HIV-1 positive women compared to the HIV negative ones leading to a median TNF-alpha/IL-10 mRNA ratio significantly higher among HIV-1 positive than among HIV-1 negative placenta (p = 0.004; 1.5 and 0.8, respectively). Significant decrease in median secreted cytokine levels were observed in placenta from HIV-1 positive women as compared to the HIV negative however these results are somewhat indicative since it appears that differences in cytokine levels (protein or mRNA) between HIV-1 positive and negative women depend greatly on P.falciparum infection. Within the HIV-1 positive group, TNF-alpha was the only cytokine significantly associated with clinical parameters linked with HIV-1 MTCT such as premature rupture of membranes, CD4 T-cell number, plasma viral load and delay of NVP intake before delivery.<h4>Conclusions</h4>These results show that P. falciparum infection profoundly modifies the placenta cytokine environment and acts as a confounding factor, masking the impact of HIV-1 in co-infected women. This interplay between the two infections might have implications in the in utero MTCT of HIV-1 in areas where HIV-1 and P. falciparum co-circulate.
Project description:BACKGROUND: During pregnancy, malaria infection with Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax is related to adverse maternal health and poor birth outcomes. Diagnosis of malaria, during pregnancy, is complicated by the absence or low parasite densities in peripheral blood. Diagnostic methods, other than microscopy, are needed for detection of placental malaria. Therefore, the diagnostic accuracy of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), detecting antigen, and molecular techniques (PCR), detecting DNA, for the diagnosis of Plasmodium infections in pregnancy was systematically reviewed. METHODS: MEDLINE, EMBASE and Web of Science were searched for studies assessing the diagnostic accuracy of RDTs, PCR, microscopy of peripheral and placental blood and placental histology for the detection of malaria infection (all species) in pregnant women. RESULTS: The results of 49 studies were analysed in metandi (Stata), of which the majority described P. falciparum infections. Although both placental and peripheral blood microscopy cannot reliably replace histology as a reference standard for placental P. falciparum infection, many studies compared RDTs and PCR to these tests. The proportion of microscopy positives in placental blood (sensitivity) detected by peripheral blood microscopy, RDTs and PCR are respectively 72% [95% CI 62-80], 81% [95% CI 55-93] and 94% [95% CI 86-98]. The proportion of placental blood microscopy negative women that were negative in peripheral blood microscopy, RDTs and PCR (specificity) are 98% [95% CI 95-99], 94% [95% CI 76-99] and 77% [95% CI 71-82]. Based on the current data, it was not possible to determine if the false positives in RDTs and PCR are caused by sequestered parasites in the placenta that are not detected by placental microscopy. CONCLUSION: The findings suggest that RDTs and PCR may have good performance characteristics to serve as alternatives for the diagnosis of malaria in pregnancy, besides any other limitations and practical considerations concerning the use of these tests. Nevertheless, more studies with placental histology as reference test are urgently required to reliably determine the accuracy of RDTs and PCR for the diagnosis of placental malaria. P. vivax-infections have been neglected in diagnostic test accuracy studies of malaria in pregnancy.
Project description:A large-scale study was set up in order to study the epidemiology, clinical aspects, and immunopathology of gestational and placental malaria in north-west Colombia. In this region, recent reports using a qPCR technique, confirmed frequencies of infection, by Plasmodium falciparum or Plasmodium vivax, up to 45%. Given the high rates of infection observed both in mother and placenta, a first exploratory study was proposed in order to characterize the effect on the inflammation status, tissue damage and hypoxia in Plasmodium spp. infected placentas.A descriptive, prospective, cross-sectional design was applied to pregnant women with (PM+) and without (PM-) placental malaria. Messenger RNA expression of Fas, FasL; COX-1, COX-2, HIF, VEGF, and the cytokines IL-2, IL-4, IL-10, IFN-? and TNF, were measured in peripheral and placental blood using a quantitative PCR. The percentage of apoptotic cells was determined with a TUNEL assay.In total 50 placentas were studied: 25 were positive for submicroscopic infection and 25 were negative for Plasmodium infection. Expression of IL-4 and IL-10 was observed high in placental tissue of PM+, while IL-2 was high in peripheral blood of the same group. Expression of TNF and IFN? in peripheral blood of the PM + group was high. Similarly, the apoptotic index and Fas expression were significantly high in PM+. However, FasL expression was observed low in PM + compared to PM-. Inflammation markers (HIF, VEGF) and hypoxia markers (COX-1, COX-2) were high in the PM + group.During placental malaria expression of some pro-inflammatory cytokines is up-regulated and markers of hypoxia and tissue damage are increased in cases of submicroscopic infection.
Project description:VAR2CSA mediates sequestration of Plasmodium falciparum-infected erythrocytes in the placenta, increasing the risk of poor pregnancy outcomes. Naturally acquired antibodies (Ab) to placental parasites at delivery have been associated with improved pregnancy outcomes, but Ab levels and how early in pregnancy Ab must be present in order to eliminate placental parasites before delivery remains unknown. Antibodies to individual Duffy-binding like domains of VAR2CSA have been studied, but the domains lack many of the conformational epitopes present in full-length VAR2CSA (FV2). Thus, the purpose of this study was to describe the acquisition of Ab to FV2 in women residing in high and low transmission areas and determine how Ab levels during pregnancy correlate with clearance of placental parasites. Plasma samples collected monthly throughout pregnancy from pregnant women living in high and low transmission areas in Cameroon were evaluated for Ab to FV2 and the proportion of high avidity Ab (i.e., Ab that remain bound in the presence of 3M NH(4)SCN) was assessed. Ab levels and proportion of high avidity Ab were compared between women with placental malaria (PM(+)) and those without (PM(-)) at delivery. Results showed that PM(-) women had significantly higher Ab levels (p = 0.0047) and proportion of high avidity Ab (p = 0.0009) than PM(+) women throughout pregnancy. Specifically, women with moderate to high Ab levels (>5,000 MFI) and those with ? 35% high avidity Ab at 5-6 months were found to have 2.3 (95% CI, 1.0-4.9) and 7.6-fold (p = 0.0013, 95% CI: 1.2-50.0) reduced risk of placental malaria, respectively. These data show that high levels of Ab to FV2, particularly those with high avidity for FV2, produced by mid-pregnancy are important in clearing parasites from the placenta. Both high Ab levels and proportion of high avidity Ab to FV2 may serve as correlates of protection for assessing immunity against placental malaria.