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Increased glutathione cycling and vitamin E of P. falciparum infected erythrocytes fail to prevent spontaneous haemolysis.

Indian J Biochem Biophys 1994 Dec;31(6):476-9 (ISSN: 0301-1208)

Mohan K; Dubey ML; Ganguly NK; Nain CK; Mahajan RC Department of Parasitology, Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education & Research, Chandigarh, India.

In an attempt to understand the pathogenesis of anaemia in Plasmodium falciparum infection, the status of erythrocyte glutathione and vitamin E content in relation to the susceptibility of infected red cells to peroxide haemolysis was examined. Synchronized cultures of the parasite with either ring-, trophozoite or schizont-infected red cells showed a gradual increase in the reduced glutathione content which was significantly higher (p < 0.05) in schizont-infected cells. Trophozoite-infected cells revealed significant increase in oxidized glutathione (p < 0.01) suggesting an increase in glutathione utilization during active erythrocytic schizogony of the parasites. The membrane antioxidant vitamin E also showed an increased accumulation in trophozoite- and schizont-infected red cells (p < 0.05) but not in the uninfected or ring-infected erythrocytes. Despite a favourable change in these antioxidants, the infected as well as uninfected red cells from parasite cultures showed enhanced peroxide haemolysis (uninfected, p < 0.05; ring-rich, p < 0.05, trophozoite- and schizont-rich, p < 0.001). The study provided direct evidence for enhanced susceptibility of red cells to lysis, including those of uninfected cells exposed to parasite products. This might explain the cause for much higher red cell loss and anaemia during P. falciparum infection than all the infected cells put together.

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