Iron deficiency, leading to a typical microcytic hypochromic anemia, is a widespread and common nutritional problem in developing countries. Many people suffer from IDA in areas that are endemic for malaria 2, and it is known that IDA individuals are protected against malaria. Because IDA influences sporozoite development in the liver 17, it is possible that the severity of the blood-stage infection might be modified in humans due to alterations during the earlier stages; however, in this study, we found that IDA mice were highly resistant to erythrocytic-stage malaria, and we addressed the mechanisms underlying resistance
to malaria in IDA. First, we analyzed whether IDA affects the intra-erythrocytic development of the GSK126 in vitro parasites. PyL parasites grew and proliferated in IDA erythrocytes in a manner comparable with that in control erythrocytes, even when cultured in the presence of low levels of iron (Fig. 2A). The resulting schizont-infected IDA erythrocytes contained similar numbers of intracellular merozoites to those in control erythrocytes (Fig. 2B). An alternative possibility is that IDA erythrocytes are more resistant APO866 datasheet to parasite invasion. Although we could not test this because of technical limitations in the use of murine parasites 18, it is unlikely, as Luzzi et al. proved, that P. falciparum invades IDA erythrocytes to the same degree as control erythrocytes 19.
Thus, we speculated that IDA does not adversely affect the parasites themselves and that resistance in IDA might be associated with host protective mechanisms. In addition to the lower levels of parasitemia during the very early phase of infection, acquired immunity is not well developed, suggesting that primitive protective mechanisms may operate. Indeed, we found that parasitized IDA cells were more susceptible to engulfment by phagocytes than control cells in vitro, resulting in rapid clearance from the circulation (Fig. 4). Furthermore, Nintedanib nmr inhibition of phagocytosis slowed the clearance of parasitized IDA cells and abrogated
resistance to infection by PyL in IDA mice (Fig. 5), demonstrating that the resistance observed in IDA mice was mainly dependent on phagocytosis. Our findings also showed that phagocytosis of ring-stage parasites, prior to the development of parasites capable of sequestration (Fig. 1C, Fig. 4D), may account for the reduced incidence of severe malaria in IDA patients. It would be interesting to investigate this using a model of experimental cerebral malaria. We speculated that the higher susceptibility of IDA erythrocytes to phagocytosis results from the exposure of PS during parasite development, although we could not prove this experimentally. As apoptotic nucleated cells are phagocytosed after recognition by macrophages expressing receptors specific for PS 20, erythrocytes with exposed PS might be taken up by these macrophages.