Folia parasitologica

The expression of malarial invasion-related molecules is affected by two different nitric oxide-based treatments.

PMID 23951927


The host immune response to parasitic infections plays an important role in controlling multiplication of the parasite and reducing clinical symptoms and life-threatening complications. Nitric oxide (NO), an important innate immune factor and classic Th1 immune effector, may play a role in inhibiting plasmodium infection. In this study, we used two different approaches (L-Arginine [precursor of NO] and NOC5 [short-time NO donor]) to prove the roles of NO in malaria infection. We used 6-8 week-old female BALB/c mice infected with the rodent malaria Plasmodium yoelii Landau, Michel et Adam, 1968 - strain 17XL (P.y17XL) as a model. For L-Arg treatment, mice were administered with an oral dose of 1.5 mg/g L-Arg daily for seven consecutive days prior to infection with Py17XL. L-Arg pretreatment resulted in the decrease of the mRNA level of the apical membrane antigen 1 (AMA1) gene, which encodes a protein involved in host invasion. For NOC5 treatment, NOC5 was injected intraperitoneally into the P.y17XL infected mice on day 5 post-infection or incubated in vitro with purified Py17XL schizonts. Both in vivo and in vitro treatments with NOC5 led to down-regulation of the transcript and protein levels of invasion-related molecules (AMA1, merozoites surface protein 1 and Py235). Our results confirmed the protective role of NO in the asexual blood stage of parasitic infection, which may be partially due to reduced expression of parasite invasion molecules.