The immunology of Plasmodium vivax malaria.

01 Jan 2020
Antonelli LR, Junqueira C, Vinetz JM, Golenbock DT, Ferreira MU, Gazzinelli RT


Plasmodium vivax infection, the predominant cause of malaria in Asia and Latin America, affects ~14 million individuals annually, with considerable adverse effects on wellbeing and socioeconomic development. A clinical hallmark of Plasmodium infection, the paroxysm, is driven by pyrogenic cytokines produced during the immune response. Here, we review studies on the role of specific immune cell types, cognate innate immune receptors, and inflammatory cytokines on parasite control and disease symptoms. This review also summarizes studies on recurrent infections in individuals living in endemic regions as well as asymptomatic infections, a serious barrier to eliminating this disease. We propose potential mechanisms behind these repeated and subclinical infections, such as poor induction of immunological memory cells and inefficient T effector cells. We address the role of antibody-mediated resistance to P. vivax infection and discuss current progress in vaccine development. Finally, we review immunoregulatory mechanisms, such as inhibitory receptors, T regulatory cells, and the anti-inflammatory cytokine, IL-10, that antagonizes both innate and acquired immune responses, interfering with the development of protective immunity and parasite clearance. These studies provide new insights for the clinical management of symptomatic as well as asymptomatic individuals and the development of an efficacious vaccine for vivax malaria.